South Africa’s Chris Williams won his first title in six years with a sudden death play-off victory at the inaugural Sharjah Senior Golf Masters on Saturday.
After Williams and England’s Gary Marks both completed their final rounds on 13-under par, the pair made the trip back to the 18th hole for the first of the play-off holes.
And one hole was all Williams needed to clinch the title, the South African producing a par following Marks’ bogey.
“Words fail me. After being eight years on the Tour and finally getting my second win after all these years is just amazing,” Williams said. “I’ve been playing well and scoring well in South Africa leading up to this event, playing in as many pro-ams as I could to keep my game sharp. So that gave me a lot of confidence before this week.”
Overnight leader James Kingston got off to a slow start but Williams, who had broken the course record with a 65 in the opening round, caught fire playing the front nine in just 32, which included a spellbinding run of birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie from the fourth to the seventh.
As Kingston continued to struggle for momentum on the second circuit of the nine-hole course, Marks seized the initiative, carding three birdies in a row from 13 to 15 to move into a share of the lead with Williams.
When Williams and Marks could not be separated, a play-off was needed to decide the champion.
Marks found the middle of the fairway with his tee shot, while Williams found the light rough on the left. Both players found the edge of the green with their approach shots, but while Marks knocked his putt around seven foot past and missed the return, Williams rolled his five feet past and sunk his follow up for par and victory.
“I got off to a great start today,” Williams said. “I was five under through seven holes and then Gary came back with three birdies on the back nine. But nothing is easy out here, you’ve got to work hard for these wins no matter where they are.”
Marks was understandably disappointed to end up empty-handed, but given his lack of golf in the close-season, he said he was pleased overall with his performance.
“I was thrilled to get in the play-off, it was obviously a sad way for it to end for me,” Marks said. “But it was much more than I could have hoped for coming to the tournament as I hadn’t been playing before this week.”
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