Italian Alberto Croce picked up the Greek Seniors Open title in Glyfada, Athens, after holing a testing four-foot putt for a birdie three at the fourth hole of a sudden death play-off with Spain’s Antonio Garrido.
The pair had tied on a five under par total of 211, Croce bursting out of the pack with a closing 68, the second best round of the day, to set the clubhouse target.
Former European Ryder Cup captain, Bernard Gallacher, seeking his first Seniors title since turning 50 in February, was disappointed to miss out narrowly on the chance to join Croce and Garrido in the play-off.
He ran up a bogey five at the 18th hole where he was bunkered and a round of 71 meant he finished on 212, but collected third place – the highest finish of his rookie season on the European Seniors Tour.
Gallacher, in fact, had shared the lead at five under par with four holes to play but that bogey proved costly as he landed in a difficult lie in the sand on the last.. He commented: “Yes, I am disappointed, but I gave it my best shot. It was a terrible lie in the bunker and I didn’t have much hope of getting it close enough.”
Garrido, meanwhile, made a par at the last to join Croce in the play-off, and after three holes in which neither player could take advantage of winning opportunities, it was the 55-year-old from Rome who clinched his second Seniors title – four years after he won the Lawrence Batley tournament at Huddersfield.
He said: “ I played very well today and the putts went in for me. I did not think I had a chance before I went out but I am thrilled to have again. It’s been a long time between my first victory and this one.”
Tommy Horton, leading the chase to win the European Seniors Tour money list for the fourth successive year, finished tied for 20th place and just failed to clinch the title ahead of the final event, the Senior Tournament of Champions later this month. Horton finished on 220 and won 1852 euro (£1322) to stay well in front of his nearest challengers.
The First National Super Seniors prize for the best player aged 60 and over went to American Joe Carr, who finished on 214 to pip Brian Huggett by a single shot.
211 – A Croce (It) 70, 73, 68; A Garrido (Sp) 69, 71, 71. Croce won at fourth hole of play-off
212 – B Gallacher (Scot) 69, 72, 71
213 - B Verwey (SA) 74, 72, 67
214 - J Carr (USA) 73, 71, 70
215 – B Huggett (Wal) 71, 72, 72; M Sanchez (Sp) 72, 74, 69; D Huish (Scot) 72, 72, 71; B Sandry(Eng) 72, 70, 73
216 – J Rhodes (Eng) 72, 72, 72
217 – G Parslow (Aus) 68, 74, 75
218 – B Waites (Eng) 75, 74, 69; A Bardha (Alb) 71, 77, 70; N Wood (Scot) 70, 73, 75; D Jones ( Nire) 71, 73, 74; J McDermott (Ire) 73, 74, 71; R Metherell (Aus) 75, 71, 72
219 – D O’Sullivan (Ire) 75, 71, 73; B Carter (Eng) 74, 74, 71
220 – T Horton (Eng) 73, 72, 75; S Lancaster (USA) 76, 73, 71; D Oakley (USA) 74, 72, 74; M Slater (Eng) 73, 78, 69; B Lendzion (USA) 75, 71, 74