Former Walker Cup player John Grace won the biggest title of his short rofessional career when he beat left-hander Peter Dawson in a play-off for the £180,000 PGA Seniors Championship.
Former Walker Cup player John Grace won the biggest title of his short professional career when he beat left-hander Peter Dawson in a play-off for the £180,000 PGA Seniors Championship.
Playing over the PGA National course at The De Vere Belfry, American Grace birdied the first extra hole - the par-four 18th - after hitting an eight iron to within three feet.
Earlier Dawson, who became the first left-hander to play in the Ryder Cup in 1977, had raced through the field from joint 14th place to the top of the leaderboard with a course record-equalling 65. His round of nine birdies and two bogeys equalled the record set by the late Mike Slater 12 months ago, but ultimately it was Grace’s decisive birdie on the first extra-hole that settled the issue.
Grace, who remained an amateur until two years ago, played in the star-studded US Walker Cup team at St Andrews in 1975 which included Lanny Wadkins, Curtis Strange, Jerry Pate, Jay Haas and Craig Stadler.
“I was just there as the waterboy,” he joked.
Dawson has spent 16 years out of the competitive arena while coaching in France, Denmark (where he coached Thomas Bjorn among others), Portugal and most recently Morocco. Dawson turned 50 in May and during the final round he was totally in command of his game, holing a 12 foot birdie putt on the last, his 27th putt off the round, to tie Grace.
Australian Geoff Parslow was neck and neck with the leaders until a bogey on the 14th. Another dropped shot on the last left him tied third alongside overnight leader Kurt Cox, who dropped four shots in his opening nine holes.