Tramore’s Robin Dawson had to settle for his second runner-up finish in a row when he fell to an incredible hole out by South Africa’s Garrick Higgo at the fourth extra hole in the Cape Province Open.
The Maynooth University player carded rounds of 69 and 71 on the final day at Kingswood Golf Estate to finish tied with Higgo and another South African, Brandon Cloete, on 10-under-par.
Having finished second in the South African Amateur Open Strokeplay at the same venue last Friday, some good karma surely beckoned for Dawson, the world No 238.
He then followed a first round 66 with a 72 at George Golf Club before adding rounds of 69 and 71 at Kingswood Golf Estate on Thursday to give himself another chance in a playoff against Cloete and Higgo, ranked 179th in the world and verbally committed to UNLV in Nevada.
All three returned to the par-five first and made birdie, Dawson holing a nine footer, before Cloete was eliminated at the second extra hole.
Playing in near darkness, Dawson and Higgo halved the third extra hole, the first, in birdies with Dawson lipping out from 50 feet for eagle and victory.
But it all ended in dramatic circumstances when they switched to the 210-yard, downhill par-three second for the fourth extra hole
Dawson missed the green right with a five-iron while Higgo flew through the green into deep rough.
With the Tramore man chipping to eight feet, it appeared likely that he would have a putt for the title when Higgo hacked his second forward but didn't make the green.
But Higgo had other ideas and spectacularly holed his parachute shot for an unlikely par that Dawson couldn't match despite giving his eight-foot par putt a decent run.
For much of the day, it appeared that an Irishman might take the title with Castle's Alex Gleeson and Tullamore's Stuart Grehan finishing just one stroke outside the playoff on nine-under-par.
Gleeson led on nine-under-par at halfway and was still in the mix with five holes to go but bogeyed the 14th and par-five 16th for a closing 71.
Grehan improved as the tournament went on by following opening rounds of 72 and 71 with rounds of 69 and 67 on the final day for an eventual share of fourth.
The Island's Kevin LeBlanc, another Maynooth player, also had a good week and was challenging for the title on eight under par with five holes of his third round to go.
He dropping four shots down the stretch for a 75, however, and a final round 72 left him tied for 18th on four-under-par.
Cape Province Open, Kingswood Golf Estate and George Golf Club (Par 72s)
278 Garrick Higgo (RSA) 74 67 69 68, Robin Dawson (Ire) 66 72 69 71, Brandon Cloete (RSA) 66 71 69 72. (Higgo beat Dawson with a par at the fourth extra hole).
279 Stuart Grehan (Ire) 72 71 69 67, Loris Schuepbach (Sui) 69 71 70 69, Alex Gleeson (Ire) 69 66 73 71
280 Marco Steyn (RSA) 70 70 69 71; Paul Margolis (Fra) 65 74 70 71
281 Christo Lamprecht Jnr (RSA) 74 67 72 68, Craig Howie (Sco) 72 70 70 69, Malcolm Mitchell (RSA) 70 69 73 69, Luke Jerling (RSA) 70 69 70 72
284 Kevin Le Blanc (Ire) 70 67 75 72,
296 John Ross Galbraith (Ire) 75 68 82 71, Colm Campbell (Ire) 77 71 74 74
301 Conor O’Rourke (Ire) 76 72 78 75
152 Colin Fairweather (Ire) 79 73