Daniel Brooks claimed his maiden European Tour title at the Madeira Islands Open – Portugal – BPI, beating Scott Henry in a play-off on a day tinged with great sadness after the untimely death of caddie Iain McGregor at Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra.
It was a dramatic finale to a tournament which had been reduced to 36 holes due to adverse weather conditions, as Henry birdied the final three holes to card a four under par 68, move to nine under alongside Brooks and force extra holes.
It was a par that sealed the play-off victory for the Englishman, having carded a five under final round of 67, after he knocked his approach from the middle of the fairway to 12 feet past the pin in the first play-off hole.
Henry’s second shot fell 25 feet to the right of the pin and the Scotsman came up three foot short with his birdie attempt, before Brooks’ putt slid past the hole leaving an easy par.
When Henry missed his par putt, Brooks was left to tap in for a first win and, while the 27 year old was delighted to add a European Tour trophy to the cabinet, he found it hard to celebrate after the tragic events earlier in the afternoon.
“It’s great to get a win, but it’s not nice to do it in these circumstances,” said the Essex native, who moved from 129th to 78th in The Race to Dubai as winnings were cut by 75% for the purposes of the rankings due to the reduction in holes. “It’s horrible what happened out there so my condolences go out to all of his family.
“I'm over the moon to have won on The European Tour but I played good golf for the last few days so I'm happy with that.
“Scott did really well in the last three holes and it was a great performance from him. I was pretty calm during the play-off, more tired than anything, but I was a little bit nervous obviously.
“Anything can happen in a play-off so to hit the fairway from the tee was nice and then to hit a good shot in and put him under a bit of pressure was great. It’s why we play golf, to win, so I'm really happy.”
Henry was disappointed to lose out but took some consolation from the late burst of birdies which launched him back into contention late in the round.
“Obviously I was not looking like catching up with Daniel towards the end,” said the 27 year old, whose sole Challenge Tour win came courtesy of a play-off victory at the 2012 Kazakhstan Open.
“But then I holed probably the best putt I've holed all week at the 15th hole and that got me going. The last three holes I holed some really good putts so it was good just to force a play-off.
“I'm obviously disappointed to be beaten in a play-off but everything that’s happened, it puts things into perspective a little.”
Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti, Julien Guerrier of France and Spanish duo Jordi Garcia Pinto and Antonio Hortal shared third place on six under par while Swede Johan Edfors, Frenchman Michael Lorenzo-Vera and Austria’s Martin Wiegele were a shot further back in tied seventh.
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