Brian Huggett has always been known as a great battler and he used all his combative qualities to close with a one under par 71 and then defeat Australia’s Bob Shearer on the first hole of a sudden death play-off at the Beko Classic at the Gloria Golf Resort in Turkey.
The 63 year-old Welshman, who had last won on the European Seniors Tour in the Schroder Seniors Classic and the Senior British Open in 1998, had started his week with an eagle two on his very first hole and he was to finish it in similar style when he hit what he described as “the best bunker shot of my life” to secure a four at the 54th hole to tie Shearer on eight under-par 208. That set up a dramatic finale which was decided in unfortunate circumstances when Shearer, a two-time winner on last season’s Seniors circuit, missed from three-feet for his par.
“This is incredible,” said Huggett, minutes after collecting his winner’s cheque for £32,120 plus a further £500, presented to him by First National as the leading Super Senior (Over 60s) in the field.
“At my age, I’m happy with top-10 finishes but, when I holed a 7-iron for an eagle on my very first hole on Friday, I thought it might be my week, and so it turned out to be.”
“The 30-yard bunker shot I hit on the 54th hole is a shot I will remember for a long time to come,” he added. “When I hit my second shot I thought it was good, but it caught the lip of the bunker and dropped in. Normally, I’m a pretty good bunker player but I excelled myself this time.”
Tommy Horton, the European Seniors Tour’s No. 1 for the last four seasons closed with a 72 to finish in a tie for third place on 209 with Japan’s Seijii Ebihara. Horton won £11,847 and is now a mere £15,490 short of earning £1 million in 36 seasons on the European Tours.
Overnight leader, Tomas Persson, a hotelier from Ostersund, 400 kilometres north of Stockholm, closed with a 75 to drop into a share of 6th place with Welshman, Craig Defoy, American, Tommy Price and Australian, David Good but, as a top-10 finisher, he did get the consolation of earning a place in this week’s AIB Irish Seniors Open at Tulfarris.
This quartet tied on five under par 211, one shot behind Australian, Ross Mertherell, winner of last season’s Belfry PGA Seniors Championship, who closed with a one under-par 71 to be alone in 5th place on 210.
In a week of extremely low scoring, on what was a tough and treacherous course, no less than 34 golfers finished level or under par.