France and the Netherlands were the big winners as Ireland finished fifth in both the team and individual competitions in the European Nations Cup at Sotogrande.
After leading for the first three rounds in both contests, the four-man side left the Cádiz venue empty-handed as France took the team title and Robin Kind of the Netherlands claimed the individual crown after a three-way play-off.
Reeve Whitson, who was tied for the lead with Spain’s Jon Rahm entering the final round, closed with a disappointing 76 to finish alone in fifth place on two-over par 290, four shots outside the play-off.
The title eventully went to world No 106 Kind, who played the back nine in four under to card a 71 and join Rahm (72) and Norway’s Kristoffer Ventura (68) in sudden death.
Rahm birdied the first extra hole from five feet but Kind matched him with a 70-yard approach to three feet as the Norwegian was eliminated.
Both players missed the green at the second extra hole but Kind clinched victory by chipping in for birdie.
“My approach was the right of the flag, but just too short,” Kind told golf.nl. “I knew I could chip it close and maybe he could fail, that would be a bonus. Luckily it was the perfect chip and it went with the last roll.”
Dutch coach Joost Steenkamer tweeted: “Robin Kind goes birdie, birdie in the playoff. What a champion. Chapeau. How beautiful to see.”
While there was Dutch delight, Ireland could not hang on to win the team title, which went to France (8 under for their best three cards on the final day) with five shots to spare on 872 from the Netherlands, whose world No 8 Daan Huizing closed with a costly 76.
Spain were seven shots behind in third on 879 with Ireland fifth on countback from Portugal on 881 after a poor final day.
Whitson’s 76 was non-counting and Ireland’s best score was a 73 by Rahtmore’s Alan Dunbar, who had failed to shine over the first three days.
The Walker Cup player ended up tied 55th on 313 (78-82-80-73) with Whitson fifth on 290 (68-74-72-76).
Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy had a solid week, finishing alone in 10th place on 292 (71-72-74-75) while Muskerry’s Niall Gorey was unlucky to be struck down by a tummy bug at the weekend as he finished tied 35th on 302 (73-76-78-75).
In the women’s competition, France took the team title by 14 strokes from Germany while the individual crown also went to the French as Celine Boutier finished three shots ahead of Denmark’s Nicole Broch Larsen on 291 (73-75-72-71).