From PGAs of Europe
A thrilling playoff was a fitting finish to the 2015 Aegean Airlines Pro-Am at Costa Navarino in Greece, as South Africa’s Jake Roos converted his week-long lead to a maiden PGAs of Europe Sanctioned Event win, taking home the first prize of €7,000.
Having won the Challenge Tour’s ‘Aegean Airlines Challenge Tour by Hartl Resort’ event in July 2014, Roos made it a double Aegean win with victory at the 10th anniversary of the popular pro-am event.
After a birdie on the 18th hole, Roos tied with playing partner, Nicolo Gaggero (PGA of Italy), at eight-under to force a playoff. But it only took a single repeat of the Dunes course’s 18th hole for the winner to be decided after which Roos’ was surrounded by Costa Navarino’s very own Junior Golf Academy members that had come to watch the event’s culmination for autographs and pictures.
“It feels brilliant to be the winner of this prestigious event,” explained Roos. “I am very chuffed to have won it in the end – it was a very up and down day, but I feel blessed to come out on top.
“It’s a massive tournament with 64 teams – I thought the event was exceptional and I’d love to be back in the future. I’d certainly encourage players to come to the event because it’s got world-class entertainment and 5* resorts, it’s a great experience. Both golf courses are extremely strong and for a coastal course the greens are quick, quality surfaces and are really true.”
Having begun the day one ahead of the PGA of Italy’s Nicolo Gaggero, Roos immediately acted with a birdie at three to push further ahead of the pack but Gaggero held on to close the first nine again one behind Roos.
After both players moved back and forth with birdies and bogeys it was Gaggero who had the opportunity to take victory needing to hole an eight-foot putt for birdie for the win. After the Italian’s putt slid by, Roos converted his birdie opportunity finishing with a level par 71 forcing the pair into a playoff.
Back on the 18th tee Gaggero played first but put his drive left of the fairway in scrubland and after two penalty drops he eventually had a putt for a seven. But Roos had already made the green in regulation and after just missing a putt for a birdie, Gaggero conceded the hole.
“I feel sorry for Nicolo, he was right there and unfortunately he hit a bad tee-shot in the playoff, but I’m happy to come out on top in the end,” added Roos.
“Nicolo was leading with three to go so I was trying to put some pressure on him…then it was tight up the last. I hit a really good bunker shot that lipped out for eagle and he had about an eight-footer for the win and unfortunately he hit it a little bit firm.”
Third place in the Individual Professional tournament went to the PGA of Germany’s, Sebastian Buhl, whose tied low score of the day of 70 allowed him to end at five-under par (208).
The Team Pro-Am competition finished after Day 2 but the victorious team of Itamar Cohen and amateurs Guy Benhamou, Hezi Magan, and Yehudah Levy were revealed as winners during the event’s Gala Dinner anniversary celebrations. Cumulative rounds of 87 and 85 points for a total of 172 (-28) were just enough to clinch the first prize by a single point.