Gareth Maybin was left kicking himself after a three-putt bogey at the last cost him a play-off place in the Ypsilon Golf Challenge and a chance of secure his European Tour card.
Bidding for a victory that would have boosted him to second in the Challenge Tour rankings where the top 20 earn cards at the end of the season, the Antrim man had to settle for a share of fourth place after four late bogeys in the Czech Republic.
Three shots behind Spain's Cabrera Bello starting the day, Maybin appeared to have blown his chances of victory when he bogeyed the first and third.
But he then reeled off an incredible seven birdies in a row from the fifth to the 11th to scorch into a two-shot lead on 19 under par.
Torrential rain marred the final day and Maybin bogeyed the 12th, 13th and 16th and before three-putting the par five 18th for a bogey six for a closing 70 that left him one shot outside a three way play-off on 15 under par.
Victory went to England’s Seve Benson, who moved one step closer to the European Tour after securing his second Challenge Tour victory in sudden death.
In torrential rain at Ypsilon Golf Resort in Liberec, Benson compiled a battling round of 70 to finish level with overnight leader Rafael Cabrera Bello of Spain and South Africa’s Branden Grace, whose 64 was quite astonishing in the circumstances, on 16 under par.
After Grace had fallen at the second play-off hole, which both Benson and Cabrera Bello birdied, the Englishman saw off the Spaniard with another birdie on the third extra hole to take the title and claim a winner’s cheque for €28,800.
That saw him leapfrog compatriot David Horsey at the top of the Challenge Tour Rankings and, with only eight events of the season remaining, all but guaranteed the 21 year old a place on The European Tour next season.
Benson, whose maiden Challenge Tour victory came at the Piemonte Open, said: “I’m itching to get onto The European Tour now. It’d be great to win three times on the Challenge Tour and go straight onto the Tour, but if not then hopefully I’ll go there next season as the winner of the Challenge Tour. I’m absolutely over the moon.”
Maybin finished one shot back in a tie for fourth with Portugal’s Ricardo Santos as Glasson's Colm Moriarty had to settle for a share of 10th place on 12 under after a 71 that featured four birdies and four bogeys.
A cheque for €9,900 moved Maybin up three places to 14th in the rankings with Moriarty leaping 22 places to 72nd.
The top ten in the rankings at the end of the season will secure the best cards with the next 10 ranked below the qualifying school graduates.