England international Andrew Sullivan produced a spectacular birdie-eagle-birdie finish to clinch the Carrick Neill Scottish Stroke Play Championship title in a dramatic finale at Blairgowrie.
The 24-year-old Walker Cup hopeful’s final round 69 gave him a six-under par aggregate of 282, one shot clear of fellow England cap Steven Brown (Wentworth) with Scotland Men’s Elite Squad member Paul Shields (Kirkhill) in third place.
The lead changed hands several times during an exciting final round and just as it looked like Brown would be the man walking away with the trophy, it was Sullivan’s stunning final burst which edged him back to the top of the leaderboard on the final green.
Sullivan, who held the lead after both the first and second rounds, holed 10-foot birdie putt on the 16th to put himself back into contention on three-under, before drilling a rescue club 263 yards to 20-feet to set up an eagle three at the 17th. Needing a final hole birdie to win, he hit a towering 7-iron to four feet and calmly rolled in the putt to become the sixth Englishman to lift the title.
“That’s definitely my best finish to a round in those circumstances,” said an elated Sullivan, who finished sixth in the Welsh Stroke Play and eighth in the Lytham Trophy. “I struggled a bit after a good start but saw I was still in contention going into the back nine and said to myself just to keep it going. I saw Steven (Brown) had moved up to five-under so knew I had to go for it and managed to pull it off.”
“Hopefully it’ll help me get back up to Scotland for the Walker Cup in September.” he added.
Brown, who went into the final round tied second with Sullivan behind Glenbervie’s Graeme Robertson, posted a fine two-under par closing round of 70 to clinch the runners-up spot, having moved onto the outright lead with a brace of birdies on 16 and 17, however Robertson’s challenge came unstuck with a crippling nine at the par-4 sixth hole.
Kirkhill’s Paul Shields had shared the lead with Sullivan and Brown midway through the back nine, but he was left to rue missed birdie chances at 15, 16 and 17, before bogeying the last for a final round 72 to finish on 286.
Shields said: “I knew that if I didn’t drop shots at the start of the back nine I would be in contention as that stretch was playing really tough. I had good chances at 15, 16 and 17 to make birdie but unfortunately the putts didn’t drop and that’s really what cost me. However, I’m delighted with my performance this week and hopefully a big win is just around the corner.”
Craigie Hill’s Daniel Young closed on 288 for fourth spot, one head of the host club’s Glenn Campbell and Australian Daniel Nisbet. Former Scotland Boys cap Young, fresh from completing his second year at Lynn University posted a final round 74 to follow up an impressive two-under par 70 this morning to secure his best finish on the national stage.
Glaswegian Mark Bookless enjoyed another good Blairgowrie performance, sharing seventh spot on 291, while Scotland international Ross Kellett (Colville Park) was among a group of six players tied in tenth spot on 292.