Spaniard Juan Quiros beat Des Smyth on the second hole of a play-off in the Cannes Mougins Masters to capture his first European Senior Tour title in three seasons after a dramatic final day in the south of France.
Quiros had started the day three shots behind overnight leader Mike Harwood but fired a bogey free closing round of three under par 69 to finish on ten under par 206 at Cannes Mougins.
Smyth had earlier set the clubhouse target after a birdie on the last hole saw the former Ryder Cup player sign for a five under par round of 67.
Both players then missed birdie chances on the first extra hole, Smyth shaving the cup from eight foot while Quiros pushed his five footer down the right hand side. Smyth suffered the same fate when they went back down the 18th a second time, agonisingly missing a tricky left-to-right five footer, but Quiros made no mistake with his four foot birdie putt to claim his fourth Senior Tour victory and first since the 2008 Irish Seniors Open.
Coincidentally that last victory also came at Smyth’s expense, when he produced a stunning 132ft wedge approach shot to 18inches to set up a decisive birdie and Quiros once again emerged victorious in France, having previously won the Open de France Senior de Divonne in 2007.
“The play-off is a lottery and thankfully the lottery was mine today,” said Quiros. “I remember when I won the Irish Senior Open and beat Des too. I hit a great shot that day but to win a play-off is very special.
“I am very happy to win. I played very well over the three rounds and I didn’t make a bogey today. It feels great to win again.”
Quiros, who moves up from 17th to eighth on the Senior Tour Order of Merit, had previously finished inside the top ten on four occasions this season and had only been outside the top 20 four times in 14 appearances.
“I had said to my family and my sponsor that I’ve played well this year and last year but I’ve just not putted very well, said the 55 year old. “My son told me if kept on playing as I have been I would win before the end of the year and he was right. The difference today was that I holed some putts.”
Smyth, who had been struggling with an arm injury, was disappointed not to win his second title of 2011 after claiming the Van Lanschot Senior Open in June but was delighted with his overall performance.
He said: “With play-offs somebody has to win and we both played great golf, even in the play-off. I was very happy with the way I played, shooting 67 and birdieing the last to give myself a chance to win.
“I played the play-off holes well but just didn’t make the putts. I had it into eight and five feet and missed both of those, that is what makes the difference.
“I said to Juan I think he has my number as that’s two times I’ve been the recipient when he has won. He’s a great player though and I’m pleased for him.”
Former Senior Open Champion Bruce Vaughan birdied the last to finish third on nine under par, while defending champion Marc Farry, the co-organiser of the tournament, finished a further shot back in a share of fourth with Angel Franco of Paraguay and Australian Peter Fowler.
Senior Tour Order of Merit leader Fowler fired an impressive 65 to strengthen his bid for the John Jacobs Trophy, while compatriot Harwood, who took a two stroke lead into the final round, carded a three over par 75 to finish in a share of seventh place on seven under par.
Fowler’s nearest rival in the Order of Merit Englishman Barry Lane eagled the 16th hole to sign for a 70 and finish in a share of 16th place on four under par, meaning Fowler extends his lead to €21,330. Lane was level with former Ryder Cup Captain Ian Woosnam, who posted an impressive 67.