McGrane snaps up Top-10 with career low
Damien McGrane during Saturday's third round of the Africa Open at East London Golf Club. Picture: David Lloyd /

Damien McGrane during Saturday's third round of the Africa Open at East London Golf Club. Picture: David Lloyd /

Not even the death stare he gave a photographer after missing a short birdie putt at the last could change the outcome. Damien McGrane's closing 65 in the Africa Open gave him his lowest score with respect to par in his European Tour career, not to mention a cheque for €18,950.

The 42-year old from Kells finished up tied for ninth on 16 under par 268 - four strokes behind South Africa's Thomas Aiken, who holed a 45-footer for birdie to beat England's Oliver Fisher at the first extra hole to clinch his third European Tour win, his first on home soil, and the €158,500 top prize.

McGrane has gone low in European Tour events before but his previous best with respect to par was a 15 under par total of 265 en route to joint 11th in the 2010 UBS Hong Kong Open.

He also shot 15 under 273 in the Holden New Zealand Open in 2005 and the Challenge Tour's BMW Russian Open in 2002. He even shot 19 under 273 to win Stage Two of the Q-School at Pals in Catalonia in 2000.

Knowing McGrane, he will be pleased to have racked up a good week and risen to 89th in the Race to Dubai. But he will also be slightly disappointed that he could not pick up another few euro or even win the tournament after storming to the turn in six under 30.

Following birdies at the second and third and a spectacular eagle two at the 362-yard fourth, he birdied the sixth and seventh to go six under for the day and make a huge move up the leaderboard.

He had the leaders in his sights but the birdies dried up. He bogeyed the 11th, got that shot back at the 16th but then missed inside five feet for birdie at the last and gave a photographer, who was happily snapping him from the other side of the green, a withering look.

Michael Hoey was tied for 54th on eight under after a closing 70 as the tournament provided the East London crowd with a thrilling afternoon's golf.

At the end of it all Aiken shot a four under 67 to Fisher's 69 and then drained a 45-foot birdie putt at the 18th to clinch a playoff victory over the young Englishman.

Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo led by two shots heading into the final round, but came undone at the first and took three shots to get out of a greenside bunker before eventually walking off with a quintuple bogey nine.

He recovered superbly, however, and birdied his final five holes to finish tied for fifth on 18 under.

Final scores