Nov 2nd, 2020
Shinkwin claims maiden title in Cyprus
Englishman takes Cyprus Open in a play-off
Words: GolfPunk Photography: Getty Images
The Englishman was two shots behind the Finn as he stood on the17th tee in regulation and while a birdie there edged him closer, his chances of victory looked slim when he found rough off the tee at the par five last.
His second shot over the water took him to the edge of the putting surface and he holed an incredible 54-foot putt for eagle to take a one shot lead at 20 under par after a closing course-record 63.
Samooja left himself an eagle chance from almost exactly the same spot but a two-putt birdie meant it was extra holes at Aphrodite Hills Resort.
Shinkwin found the greenside bunker with his second shot at the first trip back up the last but got up and down for a birdie, with Samooja's three putt from the fringe sealing Shinkwin’s first win in his 112th European Tour event.
"It’s something I’ve always wanted to do (win on the European Tour), and now I have. It’s been a bit of a shock, but it feels great," said the Englishman.
"I felt relaxed all day, I felt great to be fair. 15 and 16 were playing me up all week. I was more nervous playing those two holes just to get through them than in the play-off or on the 18th. I managed to get through them really well and I felt great.
The victory heralds a return to form for the 27-year-old, who lost his card in 2018 after coming close to becoming a Rolex Series winner the previous season, missing out in a play-off to Rafa Cabrera Bello at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open when a par on the 72nd hole would have handed him the title.
Welshman Jamie Donaldson, South African Garrick Higgo and Scot Robert MacIntyre finished two shots out of the play-off places on 18 under par, one clear of Australian Jason Scrivener, Finn Sami Välimäki and England's Dale Whitnell.