Woosie claims Irish Seniors Open after play-off

Welsh wizard Ian Woosnam continued his love affair with Ireland when he stormed from six shots behind to snatch Irish Seniors Open in a play-off thriller at Ballybunion.

The 2006 Ryder Cup skipper, 51, got a perfect read from veteran local caddie "Small" Sean Walsh and popped in a four footer to beat American miracle man Bob Boyd with a birdie at the third extra hole.

Ian Woosnam by Phil InglisIt was Woosnam’s fourth big win in Ireland following back to back Carroll’s Irish Open wins in 1988 and 1989 and that thrilling Ryder Cup win three years ago.

After pocketing a cheque for €52,500, a delighted Woosnam said: “I am absolutely thrilled. I have been struggling on since the end of last year and not having any success.

“I love playing in Ireland, winning the Irish Open twice and of course the Ryder Cup, which is something I will never forget.”

Woosnam began the day six shots adrift of England’s Roger Chapman on two over but birdied four of the last six holes for a 67 to finish on two under.

Chapman crashed to a 74 to finish tied for third with Zimbabwe’s Tony Johnstone on one-under par.

American Boyd, 53, was looking for a miraculous comeback victory after spending most of 2006 and 2007 in hospital battling leukaemia.

But he dug deep on the final day to play the last seven holes in three under par for a 71 that was good enough to force extra holes.

The pair shared the 18th in par the first time around when Boyd bunkered his approach but holed a dramatic 18 footer to stay alive.

Returning to the 18th for the second time, Woosnam missed from 15 feet for the title but made no mistake with a six-iron to four feet the third time of asking.

Woosnam said: “I never thought I’d even be at the presentation after the first round. I was so upset coming off the course.

“When I saw Roger go back to one under par and I got to level par after eight I thought I have a chance.”

Eamonn Darcy was the top Irishman in sixth place on one over after a 69 with Des Smyth tied 16th after a 73.