DAVID FISHER has won the Marriott Sprowston Manor Open at the first extra hole, after a final-round 66 from Mark Smith sent the tournament into a play-off.
Fisher produced an outstanding week at the Norfolk course, opening with a course record 64 to lead after the first round before a 70 on day two saw him enter the third round level with Michael Welch.
He was -1 for his final round after the opening nine holes, which included three birdies and two bogeys.
The Ellesborough golfer added two further birdies on the back nine, but a double bogey at the 11th and a further bogey at the 16th saw him cling on for a play-off.
Smith had earlier shot a superb 66 to join him at -8, carding two eagles and three birdies.
But he missed out on a first win of the PGA EuroPro Tour year at the first play-off hole.
Smith’s tee shot landed in the rough to the right of the fairway, and though he managed to recover with a wedge he was only able to make par.
Fisher, who followed up his tee shot with a second to the front edge of the green, calmly two-putted for a birdie to claim his maiden EuroPro Tour title.
“It was quite emotional for me,” said Fisher. “I’ve had a few second places before but you rue those days because you have to take your chances.
“I knew I had to keep my composure today and coming into the final few holes I was still there.
“I made a bit of an outrageous up-and-down from a bunker on the 17th to hold par, although there was another group on the final tee so the nerves get to you a bit.
“The wind, though, was favourable for my swing on the 18th. I hit a good drive and knew that a birdie would win the tournament outright, but my putt just broke and missed to force the play-off.
“Mark won the toss but as soon as I saw his tee shot land in the hay I was relaxed. He hit a good recovery and then almost chipped in, but I’d managed to set up a three-foot putt.
“I just thought about my previous good putts, kept my composure and in it went.
“It’s an awesome feeling – it’s been a long time coming but it’s a day to remember for me!”
Welch saw his challenge slip away on Thursday, sitting at +2 for the third round at the turn before a level par final nine holes left him at -6 for the tournament.
Graham Gordon’s final round 68 saw the Scot join Kieran Staunton and Eamonn Brady at -5, with a further four players a shot behind.
Fisher’s win guarantees him a place in the Challenge Tour event in Killarney later this month, where he will be joined by the top four in the PGA EuroPro Tour Order of Merit.
Welch’s display at Sprowston Manor saw him jump up to third in the Order of Merit and edge out Lee Rhind for the final spot alongside John Wade, Phil Worthington and Daniel Gaunt.
The Marriott Sprowston Manor Open – final round leaderboard
|1||David Fisher (Ellesborough)||-8||205||64,70,71|
|2||Mark Smith (Erewash Valley/Matchroom)||-8||205||68,71,66|
|3||Michael Welch (Hawkstone Park)||-6||207||67,67,73|
|4=||Graham Gordon (Newmachar)||-5||208||69,71,68|
|Kieran Staunton (Woodcote Park)||-5||208||68,70,70|
|Eamonn Brady (Ireland)||-5||208||71,65,72|