STIGGY Hodgson won his first HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour title with victory in the first hole of a sudden-death play-off at Cumberwell Park today.
Hodgson claimed the £10,000 first prize from Elliot Saltman and overnight leader Luke Joy after carding a final-round 63 (-8) to finish the tournament 13 under par.
The former Walker Cup man began the day six shots behind Joy (Broadstone Golf Club) but carded eight birdies in an unblemished final round to tie with Joy and Scotsman Saltman (Archerfield Links Golf Club).
Joy had led by two after 36 holes but a mixed final 18 saw him card a 69 for two under, while Saltman was six under for the day to reach 13 under for the tournament.
The play-off took place on the 18th. Saltman found the trees lining the right side of the fairway and was forced to play back out to the fairway and took five strokes to finish the par-four hole.
Joy’s tee shot landed left of the fairway and he was unlucky when a fine approach bounced off the green, leaving him two putts for par.
Hodgson (The Wisley Golf Club), however, took driver from the tee and cracked it straight down the middle. His wedge shot in landed just two foot from the pin and when he tapped it home for victory was clearly delighted to have held his nerve.
“I have worked so hard and been through a lot,” said Hodgson, who wins the £10,000 top prize as well as a brand new Motocaddy trolley and Shotsaver range finder.
“It makes you want it that little bit more and when it pays off like that it means the world to you.
“I wasn’t going to give up, it didn’t matter how far behind I started off. I kept going and kept going and went for the jugular from the off and luckily it paid off.
“My best mate Paul Boardman usually caddies for me but he couldn’t be here today. I could hear his voice saying ‘keep going kid, keep going,’ and that is what I did. It certainly made it more difficult not having him on the bag today.
“I was aggressive in the play off, I went for driver as I had done all week so why change it? My wedge play, there aren’t many better than me I know that. My putt was horrible, downhill left to right but at that point desire takes over and there was no way I was missing that.”
Luke Jackson took fourth on 12 under, just one stroke short of joining the play-off while Scotland’s Paul Shields was one further back on 11 under. Both had carded six-under 65s for their final round.
Cumberwell Park players Matt Swales and Charlie Cossins both carded final day 66s to finish eight and seven under respectively.
The final round was filmed for a two-hour highlights programme to be aired on Sky Sports HD on Tuesday, July 1 with repeats the following day.
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