Senior emerges triumphant after being taken to play-off
England's Jack Senior says he's relieved to finally get into the winner's circle after he won a thrilling play-off to become the inaugural men's winner of the ISPS Handa World Invitational.
The 31-year-old defeated fellow countryman Matthew Baldwin on the second play-off hole at Galgorm Castle to pick up only his second Challenge Tour victory, and his first in four years, and walk away with $40,000.
Both players finished at 11-under par after 72 holes, with Baldwin firing a sublime six-under 64 in his final round to hold the clubhouse lead, only for Senior, in the final group, to birdie the 18th and force a play-off.
After parring the 18th the first time around to halve it, Senior birdied the par-five on their second go to clinch the title.
"It's great to get across the line, I've been close a few times but to get it done is very, very special," said Senior.
"I've been in three play-offs in my career and won all three, so keep them coming!
"When you're in a play-off, it means you've had a good week anyway, so that takes the pressure off and means you can go out there and relax."
Overnight leaders Todd Clements and Damien Perrier both failed to break 70 in their final rounds, which allowed Senior to steal in for the win after his three-under final round 67.
The Morecambe man had the opportunity to play at the Czech Masters on the European tour this week instead but, after emerging victorious, he had no regrets coming to Galgorm.
"I said that August was going to be crunch time for me, whether I should play on the main tour or come back to the Challenge Tour, and I feel like I made the right decision this week by getting the win," said Senior.
"No matter what level you win at, though, it's a great feeling, and it was special to do it here this week."
It was another tough day for the last local man left in the field, Cormac Sharvin, who shot a one-under 69 to finish in a tie for 21st at two-under.
The Ardglass man was unable to gain momentum having made the 54-hole cut by one stroke as he mixed three birdies with two bogeys in his final round.
"I don't feel like I've got the best out of it, but I feel like I've pushed really hard," said Sharvin, who picked up the £250 prize from sponsors Bridgestone for finishing as the leading Irishman for the second year in succession.
"I think the way I played this week I didn't have a chance to win but I'm very pleased with how I fought."