Edinburgh’s Kieran Cantley won the 2021 Royal Dornoch Masters title courtesy of a play-off victory over Paul O’Hara.
Cantley secured his first professional triumph and a £4,000 prize following his win, on the third event of Paul Lawrie’s Tartan Pro Tour.
The 23-year-old finished tied on six-under-par with O’Hara after his two rounds of 66 and 68, which took the tournament to a second successive play-off.
Cantley recorded a level par four to triumph on the third play-off hole after O’Hara suffered a drop shot, and although he admits it was far from pretty he was thrilled to secure a maiden victory since turning professional at the start of last year.
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Cantley said: “It’s my first professional win, so it’s incredible to finally get over the line.
“I knew it was going to be pretty tough. I have played here before and had some success as an amateur, so I knew it was going to be a grind all day. You need to hit proper shots to win here.
“I played a five-hole play-off here in the North of Scotland, so I was hoping it didn’t go to five holes again as it’s a long drive home.
“I played really good golf though, I only had one bogey on the card at 15.
“I made a good up and down on the second hole of the play-off, I was just short of the bunker with no room to work with, but I holed a six-footer.
“Paul had to take a drop on the third play-off hole unfortunately, and I had hit a great drive to give me only 110 yards left to the pin.
“I hit a long wedge over the green, but I managed to two putt it so it’s good enough.
“It was a bit scrappy, but it doesn’t matter now. I will take it.”
Cantley played six events on the Pro Golf Tour last year, but his debut professional season was heavily disrupted due to Covid-19.
Lawrie’s tournament has now secured Challenge Tour access, with Order of Merit leader Gavin Hay, who finished tied fourth at Royal Dornoch, qualifying to play in the Vierumaki Finnish Challenge event in August.
Cantley is intent on replicating that feat, with the next Challenge Tour event up for grabs after the next two Tartan Pro Tour events.
He added: “I was getting on OK, but then Covid hit and that was it for months.
“When I heard Paul’s stuff was starting up it was great, it gave me a chance to go and play again.
“I’m going to go on to EuroPro, but with Paul getting a way into the Challenge Tour I’m fighting for that spot, even just an invite. That’s the goal.”
Royal Dornoch golf club general manager Neil Hampton said: “I have known Paul for a long time, and when he phoned up to do it last year we were very pleased to help out.
“At the end of last year’s event we immediately had a discussion about doing it again, because the Tour had been so successful.
“If we could echo the effort Paul puts into the game of golf by supporting him in this way, we were more than happy to do it. We have already put dates in place for next year to do it again.”