Kenneth Ferrie beat fellow Englishman Simon Wakefield in a playoff to win the Austrian Open on Sunday for his first European Tour title since 2005 and third overall.
Ferrie and Wakefield both carded a 67 to finish 12-under 276 for the tournament. In the playoff, Wakefield’s approach to the green landed in the rough. Ferrie holed a 7-foot birdie to wrap up the victory.
“I feel amazing right now. I haven’t won for six years and I was wondering if it was ever going to happen in the end,” Ferrie said.
Ferrie, 32, won the Spanish Open in 2003 and the European Open two years later but only just managed to keep his card last season.
“It means the world to me. I have been working very hard … but I just haven’t had the results to back it up,” Ferrie said. “So to win here, under the pressure of a playoff, is amazing and it makes all the hard work worthwhile.”
Wakefield, chasing his first title on the tour, looked out of contention after bogeying the par-4 17th.
However, last year’s Qualifying School champion got the birdie he needed on the last hole to level with Ferrie, who missed a putt on the 18th which would have won him the title in regular play.
“If you shoot 5 under on the final day playing in the final group, then it is difficult to take,” Wakefield said. “But I am happy with the way the week has gone.”
Joost Luiten of the Netherlands led the leaderboard for most of the final round. He hit five birdies before bogeying the last hole and finishing third, one stroke off the lead.
“A bogey on the 18th is not what you hope for. I am disappointed,” said Luiten, who is yet to win a European Tour event. “But it’s been a good week for me.”
Thomas Norret of Denmark, who had a two-stroke overnight lead, carded a double bogey on the par-5 13th and finished fourth for his best career result.
Tom Lewis of England rounded off an impressive professional debut by carding a 68 for his best round of the tournament. The 20-year-old Walker Cup player improved to 6 under to share 10th place and finish above illustrious names such as Miguel Angel Jimenez (5 under) and Oliver Wilson (3 under).
Ferrie sealed the win on the 18th hole, being afforded two putts to do so despite his initial drive going wide of the fairway while Wakefield's landed on it. Wakefield overhit his second shot into rough at the back of the green, though, and, after Ferrie had recovered with a beautiful second to within seven feet of the pin, the rest was a formality.
It had so nearly been a three-way playoff, with Luiten dropping a shot on the par-4 18th to fall out of contention on 11 under.
Both Ferrie and Wakefield ended on 12 under, with Wakefield birdieing the last to deny Ferrie the win in regulation time after the latter had missed a putt to win it on the penultimate hole.
Wakefield was disappointed to have gone so close to breaking through, but was also eager to take positives from his performance. He is now well within the top 115 and in with a great chance of keeping his Tour card, having started the tournament in 145th.