Jonathan Caldwell suffered an agonising one shot defeat to Scotland’s Jack McDonald as his shot at a crucial title tilt fell short at The Newmachar Golf Club Challenge in Aberdeen.
The Clandeboye professional had entered the final round with a two-shot lead and looked good having made the turn in two-under par to maintain it.
However, it was to prove a bitterly frustrating closing nine holes for Caldwell who could only par home and watch as McDonald took route 66 to the title at 16-under par.
There was plenty of consolation for the Northern Irishman, however as he jumped into fifth place on the Road to Desert Springs with the £6,000 cheque he collected for second place. With the Tour Championship the only event left on the schedule this year, Caldwell is in position to earn his Challenge Tour card for next year if he can remain inside the top-5.
The win wasn’t to be however as McDonald posted rounds of 69, 65 and 66 to rise above Caldwell who had led the opening two rounds of play. The Kilmarnock (Barassie) golfer was bogey-free for the final day putting pressure on Caldwell going birdie, birdie, birdie on 11, 12 and 13. It’s his first professional victory since turning professional.
“I played great right through today so I knew I just had to keep it going. Just delighted to get the win. It feels amazing,” he said.
“The professional game is definitely different from the amateur game and I am just delighted to get the win. I am just going to enjoy it.”
Where Caldwell would have left bitterly disappointed, Limerick’s Tim Rice enjoyed a brilliant final day after making a stunning dart through the field.
Rice recorded a nine-under par round of 63 to bolt 26 places up the leaderboard into a tie for fourth on 13-under par.
It was a superb round of golf that included eight birdies and an eagle as Rice raced home playing his last four holes in five-under to cap an incredible performance.
RACE TO DESERT SPRINGS
The Race To Desert Springs has concluded with the top 60 players sealing their place to Tour Championships at Desert Springs Resort, Almeria in late October (30 October to 1 November).
Joining Caldwell from an Irish perspective will be Niall Kearney, Tim Rice, John Ross Galbraith and Dermot McElroy.