Kenneth Ferrie (Getty Images)
Kenneth Ferrie overcame compatriot Simon Wakefield in a play-off to win the Austrian GolfOpen presented by Lyoness after an exhilarating final round.
The English pair both finished 12 under par for the week at Diamond Country Club before Ferrie triumphed at the first extra hole.
The final round was packed with drama – rookie Dane Thomas Nørret clinging to his overnight lead until a double bogey seven at the 13th eventually saw his challenge unravel.
Ferrie, Wakefield and Dutchman Joost Luiten all advanced to 12 under, but 25 year old Luiten three-putted the last to hand the initiative to the English duo in the group behind.
Wakefield failed to get up and down at the 17th, leaving Ferrie one ahead coming down the last.
Last year’s Qualifying School winner Wakefield responded with a magnificent approach from the rough to six feet, but Ferrie responded with an effort to eight feet.
With a putt for the title, the 32 year old handed his playing partner a reprieve when he missed.
Wakefield took full advantage and the momentum looked to have swung his way when they returned to the 18th, his drive splitting the fairway as Ferrie drove into the left rough.
But Ferrie produced an approach to six feet, Wakefield overshot the green and when he failed to get up-and-down Ferrie had two putts for the title, although he only needed one.
The win comes after a difficult five years for the 2005 European Open champion, who endured a difficult couple of seasons on the US PGA Tour and only kept his European Tour card thanks to a strong finish last season.
“I feel amazing right now,” said Ferrie. “I haven’t won for six years and I was wondering if it was ever going to happen in the end. To get it done was fantastic.
“It means the world to me. I have been working very hard and doing all the right things but I just haven’t had the results to back it up. So to win here, under the pressure of a play-off, is amazing and it makes all the hard work worthwhile.”
While Wakefield’s wait for a maiden European Tour title goes on, he can at least take some comfort from the fact that he is now well within the top 115 on The Race to Dubai who keep their cards, having started the week 145th.
“I said yesterday that I had to come out here and play my normal game and I did just that,” he said.
“It was the bogey at 17 that eventaully undid me, but then to hit it to two feet at the last with a five iron and then make the putt to force the play-off was great.
“At the end of the day, if you shoot five under on the final day playing in the final group then it is diffcult to take but I am happy with the way the week has gone.”
Nørret significantly improved his previous best European Tour finish of 16th by taking fourth, while there was a top-ten finish in his first professional event for 20 year old Walker Cup star Tom Lewis.