Hendriksen snatches victory from the jaws of defeat to deny Hunt a home win

Hendriksen snatches victory from the jaws of defeat to deny Hunt a home win


Paul Hendriksen played the roles of golfing magician and killjoy to perfection in winning the PGA South Wales Open at St Mellons Golf Club.

Having pulled a rabbit out the hat by recording seemingly improbable birdies at the final two holes to force a play-off with the venue’s head PGA professional, Toby Hunt, Hendriksen then disappointed his rival’s followers by winning the showdown.

Hunt looked set to win his second Carlsberg Marstons-sponsored Order of Merit event in succession when he completed the two negotiations of his home course in six-under and led Hendriksen by two shots.

Hendriksen, who was in the group behind, halved that with a birdie at the par-four 17th but looked destined to finish runner up when he left his approach to the final hole at least 40 feet from the pin.

However, his putt unerringly found the target and, with the golfing wind now in his sails, the Devon-based pro prevailed in the play-off at the third extra hole to claim the £2,500 winner’s cheque.

Reflecting on what was nothing short of a great escape, he said: “I bogeyed 16 and thought I’d shot myself in the foot and was relying on people in front of me messing up.

“Toby birdied 17 and then made a par at 18, which left me having to make birdies at two of the hardest holes on the golf course. And although I was pushing for it, I wasn’t expecting that outcome. I was very fortunate but am very happy.”

Just as Hendriksen’s final flourish was unexpected, likewise his success in the play-off.

“My play-off record was something like 10 losses and no wins,” admitted Hendriksen, who won the PGA Professional Championship at Sherwood Forest Golf Club earlier this year.

“I don’t know why but I don’t do well in them so it’s great to finally win one.”

Meanwhile, Hunt experienced a double disappointment insomuch that finishing second denied him the chance to draw level with James Ruth at the top of the Order of Merit.

Instead, he trails Ruth (pictured) by 40 points but is unable to play in the final event of the series, the PGA Wiltshire Open at Kingsdown next month.

With the top three qualifying for next season’s PGA Play-Offs, he will be paying close and anxious attention as to how his closest challengers fare, not least Jamie Clare and Hendriksen who could both overtake him.

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