Oliver Farr is the 2009 HSBC Golf World Champion of Champions after a thrilling play-off victory at Royal Birkdale.
The 21-year-old from Ludlow Golf Club beat defending champion Sandy Twynholm on the first sudden-death hole. Both finished at five-under par, after each shot a 72 and a 67 on alternate days of the two-day final.
Twynholm had to birdie the final hole to match Farr’s 36-hole score, before being driven back to the 18th tee for a shootout. Both men found the fairway, and came up just shy of the par-5 with their second shots. Twynholm then hit a lovely checking chip from the left rough to about five feet, forcing Farr to get his close.
The youngster had a lucky break when his ball found a mown pathway through the rough to the left of the 18th green, and he executed a Tour-style chip and run.
After the flag was used to measure the distance of their balls from the hole, it was too close to call, so they tossed a coin for the honour.
Farr won and sank his putt, forcing Twynholm to make his and take the play-off to the first. But his birdie putt just slid by, and his reign as the Champion of Champions was over.
A delighted Farr, who qualified at The Belfry with a 68 off a +4 handicap, said: “What a fantastic event. It was a shame Sandy missed the putt, but I had a big break with my second shot finding the path.“I played really well today. It’s an immaculate course, and a great championship.” Twnyholm, who was vying to become the first man to defend his title, said: “I has to good breaks and some bad breaks out there, but Oliver thoroughly deserves the win.”
One of those bad breaks came on the 16th, when his iron off the tee split the middle of th fairway. But it was buried in a divot, and instead of a simple wedge to the green, Twynholm had no option but to blast out. His shot came up short, as did his first putt – and he missed his effort for par.
Click here to see the full leaderboard. For a full report from the event, see the next issue of Golf World magazine.