ROYAL BURGESS amateur James Ross came agonisingly close to victory in the HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour event at his home club as a horror last hole saw him finish two shots behind winner James Watts.
Ross, 24, lead by one as he played the 18th but dragged his tee shot out of bounds to the right of the green. His second tee shot then found a greenside bunker and he made triple bogey to finish the tournament tied sixth on seven under.
Watts moved into the top five on the Order of Merit after winning a three-way play-off.
The Hertfordshire man shot a final-round 66 – four under par – to finish tied with Neil Fenwick (Dunbar) and Stiggy Hodgson (The Wisley Golf Club) on nine under after 54 holes to take the event to a play-off on the par-three 18th.
Watts (Kingsway Golf Centre) landed his tee shot by far the closest of the three to the pin, and was unlucky not to see his first putt drop. However, he made par while Fenwick, who had carded a final-round 67, and Hodgson, who shot 65 on the last round, both took three putts and bogeyed the hole.
“It feels amazing to win,” said Watts, who won £10,000 and rose to fourth on the Order of Merit from which the top five at the end of the season earn Challenge Tour cards.
“I have been in good form over the last few weeks. I have been playing well and knew that if I kept going through my processes then something would happen. I had a few chances last year but didn’t break through, so very pleased to win.
“The goals change now considerably. I will play all the remaining EuroPro tournaments this year in a bid to come in that top five.
“The play-off, I hit a really good shot in. My first putt was good, it just caught the lip and spun out, but I was happy to get the win in the end.”