Arthur Pierse from Tipperary completed a great double for Ireland in the early evening at Nairn Golf Club.
Only a week or two after his “very good friend” Padraig Harrington won the Open at Carnoustie, the 56-year-old Pierse became the first Irishman to win the British senior men’s open amateur championship.
And there was just as much late drama in Arthur’s win as there was for Padraig.
After some confusion over his and playing partner Canadian Graham Cook’s scorecards, the two were found to have tied over the regulation 54 holes at five-under-par 211.
Pierse, starting the day two shots clear of Cook and Spaniard Miguel Preysler at six-under-par 138, had a closing 73 and Cook a 71 to match the Irishman’s 211 total.
The sudden-death play-off lasted the best part of 45min and did not end until the third extra hole. “I’m thrilled to bits. I’ve won a lot of things in my career – including a Walker Cup honour and I played in the Eisenhower Trophy GB&I team as well. But, at the moment, this is my greatest win,” said the Tipperary garage owner.
Miguel Preysler from Malaga, last year’s European senior amateur champion, finished a close third on 212, only one shot outside being in the play-off – then he paid tribue to his caddie and long-time friend, Gillian Stewart, the former Curtis Cup player and Ladies European Tour player who is now a golf coach based in Inverness.
“Gill sorted out my putting for me, she sorted out my short game for me – she is a brilliant coach. I am going to tell Sergio Garcia about Gill.
“I putted like a dream thanks to Gill, including one for a birdie at the last which kept hopes alive of being in a play-off right until the last.”