Englishman David Dixon’s patience paid off as he came from two shots behind to claim a one-stroke victory at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Par 3 Championship.
Dixon shot a three-under-par 51 for a tournament three under 105 at Paul Lawrie Golf Centre to pip overnight leader, Lanark’s Stephen Gray, to win the £3,750 first prize.
Gray was two strokes clear at the turn and seemingly on course for victory but birdies at 11 and 13 from Dixon levelled the match.
Gray regained the lead with a birdie at 14 but another birdie from Dixon at 16 squared matters once more.
The turning point came at the penultimate hole when Gray dropped a shot and his hopes of forcing a play-off were dashed when his putt for par lipped out from three feet.
The 41-year-old said: “That was a nice way for things to turn out for me. I’m well chuffed about that as I’ve had a really good few days.
“I was about to say ‘good putt’ to Stevie when it did a horrible horseshoe. It wasn’t a nice way for him to finish after playing so well.
“I got ahead for the first time after he missed a putt to bogey the 17th.
“I was actually more focused on the team event as my partner and I were trying to pull off one of the greatest comebacks of all time in that.”
The 2001 Open silver medallist, who is on the reserve list for the Scottish Challenge at Spey Valley on Thursday,hopes he can carry his form of the last two days into the Challenge Tour event in the Highlands.
He said: “My putter was behaving unbelievably good out there so if can take that into Aviemore next week, then that would be good.
“I’m heading back home for the weekend to spend some time with my kids, especially as it’s Father’s Day on Sunday then will head back up raring to go next week.”
Gray, who finished two-under on 105, could scarcely believe his putt for a play-off did not drop.
He said: “I thought it was in and started just walking to it but it horseshoed out. It’s one of those things in golf. I’d played pretty well and it was a nip and tuck all the way.
“I holed something like an 80 footer on the fifth (his 14th) to get me back to four-under. But on the eighth (17th)
I had a wee nestly lie and it came out soft and left me 10-feet short and that was the bogey.”
Paul Lawrie’s son Craig finished third while Dunblane’s Heather MacRae, now based in Portugal, was the leading woman in the field, finishing on five over 113 following her second round 57.