Sunday, September 24, 2023

ISPS Handa World Invitational: Dan Brown secures five-shot win as Alexa Pano claims epic play-off -Dlight News

Daniel Brown finished five shots clear of Alex Fitzpatrick to claim his breakthrough DP World Tour victory; Alexa Pano beat Esther Henseleit and Gabriella Cowley in a play-off to win the women’s event in Northern Ireland

Daniel Brown completed a convincing victory at the ISPS Handa World Invitational

Daniel Brown completed a convincing victory at the ISPS Handa World Invitational

Daniel Brown secured a maiden DP World Tour title with an impressive five-shot victory at the ISPS Handa World Invitational.

Brown overcame an early wobble and mid-round bogey run to post a one-under 69 at Galgorm Castle, one of two courses used at an event sanctioned by the DP World Tour, LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour, to end the week on 15 under.

Alex Fitzpatrick claimed second spot on 10 under ahead of Eddie Pepperell, who finished eight strokes back, while Alexa Pano – on her 19th birthday – snatched the women’s title after a dramatic play-off victory on the third extra hole.

Brown took a six-shot lead into the final day of the men’s event in Northern Ireland but gave the chasing pack hope when he followed a three-putt bogey at the first by dropping a shot at the third, only to birdie the par-three fifth and fire his approach to tap-in range to add another at the next.

He followed a front-nine 34 by taking advantage of the par-five 10th, only to see his lead cut to three when he bogeyed each of his next three holes.

Brown regained control of the tournament when he drained a 25-foot birdie at the 14th and made another from the same distance at the next, then picked up another on his penultimate hole to close out an emphatic win.

Fitzpatrick mixed five birdies with three birdies to close a final-round 68 and register the best finish of his career so far, with Pepperell a further three strokes back in third spot on seven under.

Ryder Cup hopeful Adrian Otaegui faded on the final day with a two-over 72, dropping him to a share of fourth, with Wilco Nienaber, Marcus Helligkilde, John Parry and Scotland’s Connor Syme also finishing on five under.

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Pano secured her maiden LPGA Tour title with a dramatic play-off victory, as Gabriella Cowley narrowly missed out after forcing her way into extra holes.

Cowley produced an eagle-birdie finish to card a final-round 70 and move to eight under alongside Henseleit and Pano, who birdied her final two holes to card a six-under 66.

The players returned to the 18th for a play-off, where Henseleit was eliminated with a par as her two playing partners made birdie, while Cowley appeared to have the advantage on the second play-off hole when Pano was forced to pitch out from the trees.

Cowley three-putted from long range, including a squandered birdie look from inside four feet, to match Pano’s par, before the American sealed victory with a two-putt birdie on the next play-off hole.

Ryann O’Toole finished a stroke back in fourth ahead of Olivia Cowan, while pre-tournament favourites Georgia Hall and Leona Maguire both finished in a share of 16th.

What’s next?

The DP World Tour heads to Prague next for the D+D Real Czech Masters, beginning on Thursday, with the event the penultimate tournament to earn qualification points for Europe’s next Ryder Cup team. On the LPGA Tour, the CPKC Women’s Open in Canada is the last event to qualify for Team USA’s Solheim Cup side.

European Solheim Cup captain Suzann Pettersen will name her six picks in a live show on Tuesday from 4pm on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the best golf and more for £26 a month for 12 months with NOW.

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