In a dramatic play-off Henry Aldridge holed an 8ft putt to beat Andy Raitt and secure his first win as a PGA professional in the first C+K Group Southern PGA Championship at Goodwood.
Aldridge (David Lloyd Golf Hampton) and Raitt (St George’s Hill) both shot 72 and 68 to finish on a two-under-par 140 and were the only players to break par in extremely testing conditions around the recently-refurbished Downs course.
Earning £2,000 and £1,500 respectively, they edged out PGA Surrey Open winner Nick Redfern into third place after he shot 68 and 75 for a total of 143 and a cheque for £1,000.
In the second round Aldridge made a fantastic start, opening with a shot to 4ft for a birdie two at the 202-yard opening par three. He then peppered the pin positions to race away with birdies at the third, fifth, sixth and seventh to be out in five under par.
Aldridge made pars at the next four only to drop a shot at the long 14th. Still in the lead by one, he reached the 18th needing a par to win - but failed to get up and down from the back of the green after a flyer from the rough.
Aldridge said: “At this point, I knew I was going to be up against Andy Raitt in a two-hole play-off, and I knew the odds weren’t exactly in my favour.
“We played the first and the 17th, the two long par threes, and Andy hit his opening shot to 8ft. I managed to get my shot to around 30ft and left my putt stone dead for a three, but Andy missed his so on we went to the 17th.
“He pulled his tee shot left into a horrible lie, while mine finished on the fringe. Andy got his ball out to about 25ft and just missed his putt, while I’d chipped poorly to 8ft. Out of the blue I had the opportunity to win my first event, so I took my time, lined it up and made it - fantastic!
“Although I’d snatched victory from him, Andy was really gracious, especially when he learned it was my first win as a PGA-qualified professional. It all goes to make 2011 a very special year for me, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can do in 2012.”
The championship came after Goodwood was voted one of the top 50 ‘stay and play’ venues in the UK by Golf Monthly magazine.
The club was voted 27th by senior editorial staff and a group of well-travelled golf writers and was the only West Sussex club to feature in the rankings.
The strict judging criteria included five key categories: quality of the layout including test, design, condition, presentation and visual appeal, quality of the hotel, activities and facilities, ambience and finally, value for money.
Goodwood was earlier voted by Golf World magazine as one of the top 100 courses in England.
Stuart Gillett, general manager at Golf At Goodwood, said: “Everyone is delighted with the award and recognition from Golf Monthly. Both the Downs and Park courses have been in outstanding condition from tee to green this season and we indeed to maintain this high standard throughout the winter months.”