Sam Locke illustrated his affinity with Carnoustie once again as he claimed the first of the new Tartan Pro Tour titles at the Angus links in a play-off.
The 21-year-old from Banchory won the Silver Medal for best amateur finisher at the 2018 Open Championship on the great links, and on his first visit back he claimed the Carmoustie Challenge, the first of six events on the new tour for developing Scottish pros of both sexes set by former Open champion Paul Lawrie.
Locke is a protégé of Lawrie and plays out of his golf centre just outside Aberdeen – he used to work behind the counter at the coffee shop – which made him a fitting winner of the first event, shooting rounds of 68 and 69 over the Championship Course.
However a brilliant second round 66 by Chris Robb – like Locke, a former Scottish Amateur Champion – forced a sudden-death play-off which Locke won with a par.
Robb’s charge seemed to have overtaken first round leader Locke coming down the stretch, but that most rare of Carnoustie birdies, at the long par three 16th, forced the tie on seven-under.
“I should maybe play here more often because it certainly provides me with good memories,” said Locke, who was recording his first pro win.
“That was great scoring from Chris today and, though usually I don’t look that much at leaderboards, I did today after nine holes.
“I saw that he’d got off to a flyer and, while I didn’t have my best stuff out there today, I was chuffed how I managed to grind it out.”
The key birdie was 16, a six-iron downwind to 12 feet to a forward pin.
“It’s not often you birdie that hole,” he said. “I then had a chance to win from around 18 feet at the last but it just slipped by.
“At the first extra hole, I thought I’d holed my birdie putt from 16 feet only to see it stop an inch short but Chris left his first putt about six to eight short and missed for par.”
Locke claimed the £4000 first prize with Locke settling for £2500 in second. Former Europen Tour player Scott Henry shared third with Daniel Kay, with another former Tour player Jamie McLeary in fifth on two-under.
The tournament host had an eight on the long fifth but played par golf the rest of the way for a 75 and a three-over finish.
The LPGA player and former Amateur World No 1 from Ireland, Leona Maguire, had a two-under 70 and was tied for the leading women finisher with Scotland’s Kylie Henry on one-over in a share of tenth place.
Unfortunately the second event on the Tour, the Scottish Par 3 Championship at the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre this weekend, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 lockdown in Aberdeen.