First round leader Simon Thornton could find plenty of consolation despite coming up one shot shy after the final round of The PGA Play-Offs at PGA National Slieve Russell.
The Tulfarris pro finished one shot back of eventual winner Greig Hutcheon and runner-up Adam Keogh, carding a final round two-under 70 to finish one short of the playoff at six-under par.
“There’s a lot of positives,” said Thornton, who earns three DP World Tour starts off the back of his solo third, with dates at the Cazoo Classic, Cazoo Open and the Scottish Hero Open to look forward to.
“Six-under around this golf course without much competitive golf; I’m disappointed that I should’ve been a few more under par but we’ll all have a story like that.
“Overall, I’ll go home and reflect over a glass of red and say it’s probably job done.”
Overnight leader Hutcheon recovered from an early wobble to defeat Keogh (Woodhall Spa) on the second extra hole to win out in Cavan.
The 49-year old from Torphins Golf Club signed for a two-under par round of 70 in regulation play but was joined at the top of the leaderboard at seven-under par by Keogh who fired the round of the day, a five-under 67, to force a playoff.
The leading pair halved the first extra hole in ‘5’ but after Keogh failed to get up and down from the greenside bunker at the next, Hutcheon’s par proved enough to capture the prestigious title for the third time in his career.
“It’s a little bit of a shock, especially after starting off bogey-bogey this morning,” smiled Hutcheon, who posted five birdies in-all with one more dropped shot arriving at the par-4 15th.
“I came back well, made some birdies and managed to win it finally in the playoff. I’ve managed to win this a couple of times before but I’m about to enter my 50th year so this was one last final swansong and I’m delighted.”
As well as the £3,500 winner’s cheque, Hutcheon has seven lucrative DP World Tour starts to look forward to, with little time to rest as he joins the field for next week’s Betfred British Masters.
“It’s a great start to the year – I’ve just got to find some accommodation now for The Belfry,” said Hutcheon.
“I get to play some of the big tour events now which is a little bit daunting at my age but you know what, as long as I can keep fit and keep flexible, I can still hit the ball reasonably well so I fancy I might be able to make a few cuts.”
Runner-up Keogh might’ve fallen just shy in the playoff but the Englishman will be consoled having earned four DP World Tour starts of his own, including next week at The Belfry.
“It’s a disappointing way to lose but I gave myself a chance to win the trophy. Where I was on Tuesday evening, we were nowhere near that,” said Keogh.
“But yeah, I’ve been told I’m into next week so no rest for the wicked. I best sort that out with work first though!”
Waterville’s David Higgin’s signed for a one-under par closing 71 to claim a share of fifth alongside Michael Farrier-Twist (Seddlescombe GC) at five-under par. Banbridge’s Richard Kilpatrick completed the home scoring with a closing 71 for a share of 12th at three-over.
The DP World starts were divvied out as follows:
BMW PGA Championship – 1 spot
British Masters – 2 spots
Irish Open – 1 spot
Cazoo Open – 3 spots
ISPS Handa World Invitational – 1 spot
Cazoo Classic – 3 spots
Scottish Hero Open – 3 spots
PGA of South Africa PGA Championship – 1 spot
- Full scoring HERE