Senior secures first pro victory

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HEYSHAM’S rising golf star Jack Senior has picked up his maiden professional victory in dramatic fashion.

The Walker Cup star carded four birdies in the final five holes at the Servizitalia Lignano Open in Italy and then won a play-off at the first extra hole to pick up the trophy on Saturday.

Jack Senior hits a tee shot at the final hole of the Servizitalia Lignano Open.

Jack Senior hits a tee shot at the final hole of the Servizitalia Lignano Open.

The victory, which saw Senior finish on -11, increased his advantage at the top of the Alps Tour’s Order of Merit.

He said: “I’ve been there or thereabouts a few times and it was nice to finally get over the line.

“In the first nine of the final round it wasn’t really happening for me but then in the final three holes they just came out.

“I holed a couple of good puts and then got a lucky break on 18 but you need that little bit of luck to get that first win.”

The amateur sensation, who as well as the Walker Cup victory over the USA, won the prestigious Lytham Trophy and reached the semi-finals of the US Amateur Championship before turning pro last September, was level par for his final round before his birdie blitz took him into a sudden death play-off with second round leader Jesus Legarrea and he overcame the Spaniard with another birdie at the first extra hole.

“I hit a great second shot to about 12ft in the play-off and my eagle put slipped out. But thankfully he missed his birdie putt and I tapped in for the win,” said Senior.

The Heysham man had shared the first round lead with Italy’s Mattia Miloro after carding an opening 68, which he repeated in the second round.

Legarrea, however, carded a stunning second round 63 to take a three-shot lead into the third and final round, an advantage he held until Senior’s late charge.

Senior, whose previous best was third at the Palmeraie PGP Open, was also fifth at the recent Peugeot Alps de Barcelona and now moves on to the Gosser Open in Austria starting this Friday, May 18.

If Senior finishes in the top five of the order of merit come the end of the season, he will secure a card for the 2012 Challenge Tour, one level below the European Tour.

He said: “I’ve had a couple of invites but I’m just trying to cement my place on the Challenge Tour next year, so I’m concentrating on the Alps Tour before maybe looking at other things later in the year.”