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Sunday, 23 May 2004
Argentina’s Luis Carbonetti slipped through at the very end to win the Digicel Jamaica Classic, in association with Sony Ericsson, after a play-off against Australian Terry Gale.

In the first play-off of the year on the European Seniors Tour, Carbonetti drained a 12 foot birdie putt on the first extra hole to deny Gale his second successive win.

The Argentinean, in his rookie season on the Seniors Tour, trailed Gale, playing in the group behind him, all day until drama unfolded on the 18th at the Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay.

Gale won last week’s Bosch Italian Seniors and after he birdied the first hole he held the outright lead for the entire round but needed a par on the last to secure the title.

Surprisingly Gale bogeyed the last following a poor drive and saw the title slip away when he was unable to match Carbonetti’s birdie putt in extra time from a similar length.

“What a surprise! I thought I was out of it,” said Carbonetti, who won €34,954 (£23,458).

Carbonetti fired a final round two under par 70 for a three round aggregate of eight under par 208. He made a crucial birdie on the 17th to put the pressure on Gale.

“I kept going and pushed hard but I did not think I would catch Terry. It’s a great feeling to win,” added Carbonetti, whose brother Horacio also plays on Tour.

It completed a remarkable week for the 51 year old as he fired a course record 63 on the opening day, which is the second lowest round in the history of the Seniors Tour. The following day his score was 12 shots worse than that sensational round but it still left him just two shots off the lead.

Frenchman Philippe Dugeny held the overnight lead but quickly fell out of the running and closed with a 75.

Last week in Italy, Gale came from behind to beat England’s David J Russell over the closing holes but the tables were turned for the Australian in Jamaica. The 57 year old carded a 71.

“It’s disappointing to lose it at the end like that but that’s golf and you have to accept it,” said Gale, who has won six times on the Seniors Tour.

He won back to back titles in the Caribbean last year in Barbados and then Tobago and looked a good bet to do another double this week before he hit a poor drive into the trees on the left on the 72nd hole.

He chipped back into the fairway and hit a great third to eight feet and narrowly missed his par putt which would have secured the trophy.

Consolation for the Australian was that he moved to the top of the Seniors Tour Order of Merit list ahead of England’s Carl Mason.

Jamaica’s Delroy Cambridge made a brave bid for honours in front of his home fans. He just missed getting into the play-off by one shot after returning a 71. He made a late charge with birdies on 10, 11 and 14 but couldn’t make the final birdie that would have tied him with the leaders.

Mason showed that he has fully recovered from the back injury which sidelined him for the past two weeks by closing with a 67 to finish two strokes short of top spot.

American Jay Dolan III finished in a tie for 11th position to claim the Hardys Super Seniors Prize, which goes to the top ranked player aged over 60. The American won €1,500 for his efforts.

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