David Ravetto hit the accelerator pedal to claim victory at the Brabazon Trophy- after starting a memorable and crazy week sleeping in his car.
The 23-year-old Frenchman prevailed after winning a three-man play-off against Denmark’s Christoffer Bring and Mark Power from Ireland.
All three men finished the 72-hole stroke play event level on -10 after battling brutal winds in today’s final round.
Power – who shot a fantastic five-under par round of 66 just to make the play-off having started the day six shots adrift of the leader – fell out of the reckoning after the first play-off hole as both the Dane and the Frenchman made birdie.
Then, after driving the green at the par 4, second hole, Ravetto enjoyed a tap-in birdie and the winning feeling.
Ravetto’s journey to the point where he got his hands on the famous gold trophy at Sherwood Forest Golf Club in Nottinghamshire was far from simple.
A week ago, he made it into the UK on a ferry at 2.30am on Saturday – just 90 minutes before new quarantine rules came into play compelling visitors from France to self-isolate for a fortnight.
But having arrived on English shores without accommodation, the Parisian decided to sleep in his car for that first night.
It was perhaps written in the stars that such a strange backstory would have a happy ending. The player ranked 46 in the amateur world could reflect on an odd week after celebrating the biggest win of his career.
“On Saturday I slept in an all-day parking lot as I didn’t have a hotel room,” confessed Ravetto as he laughed about the night when his battered, 1996 Peugeot 106 doubled as both transport and accommodation.
“The car is one year older than I am, but it is still going! Just.
“I arrived here at 6am and slept for maybe five hours in an all-day parking lot. I sucked it up and played good golf this week.”
Rounds of 66, 72, 66 and 70 saw him conquer at various times heat, rain, and 50mph winds to land the trophy.
“I fought really hard and to go birdie-birdie in the play-off was amazing,” added Ravetto.
“I’m really proud after the second round when it was raining so bad.
“In the third round I was seven under after 11 holes, but was happy to end five under and then did well today.
“This win is the best of my career.”
Ravetto’s ice-cool nerve in the play-off put paid to the hopes of Power and Bring (pictured below). He will now head to Royal Birkdale for the Amateur Championship – if his car makes it!
Danish talent Bring, though, was left frustrated at not holding onto a winning position.
As he turned for home this afternoon, Bring held a four-shot lead over the field.
But bogeys at 12 and 17 as well as a double at the par 3, 15th hole derailed his bid for outright victory with a one-over par final round of 72.
“I’m super disappointed,” he said.
“I played some good golf for 11 holes and then kind of lost it in the end.
“Second place is always good, but how I went down was disappointing. But congratulations to David for playing some really good golf.”
Power’s talents as a rising star of the game have long been recognised and his play in the final round showed just why.
His round of 66 was four shots better than anyone else in the 68-man field.
“It was a roller-coaster day,” he said with a shrug.
“I knew the wind would be up and I was hoping for that as it was best chance to creep up the leaderboard.
“In those conditions that was a helluva round, one of the best I’ve played.
“It’s bitter-sweet the way it finished, but overall I played well.”
Four Englishmen ended in a tie for fourth – Yorkshire’s Barclay Brown won the Henriques Salver as the leading GB&I player aged under 20. He joined England squad member Sam Bairstow, Jack Dyer (pictured above) from Essex and Surrey’s Enrique Dimayuga in finishing the week on -7.
Full scores, news, videos and pics from the week can be found on the championship homepage.