Close friends should not be separated but a par at the first extra hole saw Haydn McCullen pip his pal and England foursomes partner Bradley Moore to the Carris Trophy under threatening skies at Moor Park.
The pair had finished on level-par 288 after a two-shot swing on the final hole then proceeded to the first again to decide a winner.
Moore, who had returned a closing 71 with a birdie at the short 18th, was unlucky to see his approach on the 400-yard hole take a bad bounce and finish in sand close to the lip of a bunker.
With little room to spare, he played a magnificent recovery only to miss his ten-foot par putt after McCullen’s birdie chance had shaved the cup from a similar distance.
The pair had finished five strokes ahead of second round leader George Gardner, who closed with 74, and six clear of the fast-finishing Jamie Dick, another England boy cap, who returned 70.
“Winning doesn’t feel as good as it should because it was against Bradley,” said McCullen (image © Leaderboard Photography). “We are close friends and foursomes partners for England. He also got unlucky on the playoff hole but I’m pleased to have won.
“I’m only playing four boys events this year. I won the McEvoy Trophy, finished fifth with Bradley in the European Boys qualifying and now I’ve won the Carris. There is just the British Boys to come so I have a good record and hopefully this will get me picked for a few more things.”
Moore, who had already finished second to McCullen in the McEvoy but was victorious in the Irish Boys a few weeks ago, was naturally disappointed not to complete the double but he was pleased with the way he had played.
“I played well all week but so did Haydn and he deserved his win,” said Moore, who came home in 33 shots with that final hole birdie to force the playoff.
“I knew a needed a birdie at the last to catch Haydn and I managed to make two by holing from about 20 feet. In the playoff, I had a nasty lie in the bunker and there were a few stones under my ball, but I managed to give myself a chance.”
After play had been suspended for 90 minutes in the afternoon because of thunder and lightning, it was just as well that the playoff lasted just one hole with a storm threatening. But at least the rain did the course a power of good and took some of the bounce out of the ground.
When play was suspended, McCullen was playing the ninth with a birdie chance which he missed, his putt lipping out. “I made a bad start to the round again,” he said.
“I bogeyed two of the first three as I did yesterday and at the same holes. But I fought back well with a couple of birdies to be level par at the turn and would have won in normal time but for a bogey at the last where I hit too much club and my ball finished over the green.”
McCullen, who started the day one behind Moore and found five birdies, added: “I went out just to hit the greens and hole a few putts. Conditions were a bit softer after the stoppage and you could attack the pins more. Overall it’s been a good week.”
McCullen also collected the Malcolm Reid Trophy for the best aggregate from the McEvoy and Carris Trophies on five under, again pipping Moore, who finished on three under.
The Hazard Salver for the best performance by a player aged under 16 on 1st January went to Malaysia’s Bryan Teoh Wiyang on 297, beating Ryan Cox from the Warley Park club in Essex by a shot. It certainly made his long journey worthwhile.