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Golf: Birdie blitz sees Young home in play-off

Image Credit: supplied photo
Malcolm Young, left,picks up his prize for winning the SharjahOpen from Sharjah Golf and Shooting ClubDirector of Golf, Martin Duff

DUBAI: Arabian Ranches' Malcolm Young showed why he is a man to be feared on the local professional circuit when he held his nerve to win the UAE PGA's Sharjah Open after a tense three-way play-off.

Young rattled in a 40-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole to see off the challenge from current Order of Merit leader Simon Payne (Tower Links) and Callum Nicoll (The Els Club) at Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club.

Young has put together a consistent run with a string of second-place finishes in recent Order of Merit events, but this time he came good at the right time, with three birdies on the back nine in regulation play to force himself into the play-off.

"I am very happy with today's result," Young said. "I played the back nine in two-under and birdied the last hole in regulation to finish even with Callum and Simon. For me to repeat this in the play-off was very rewarding," added Young.

"Having finished runner-up three times in the past four events I am exceptionally pleased I kept it going and held off Callum and Simon," he said.

Young has now made third place in the Order of Merit his own at the halfway point of the season and now has leader Payne firmly in his sights for the second half of the season.

Nicoll had led after nine holes, turning for home at two-under par, with Payne two shots adrift and Young sliding a further two shots back. But it all turned around for the affable Scot on the inbound stretch as he birdied the 11th and 12th before his last-hole heroics put him into the sudden-death decider.

Early leader Nicoll bogeyed the first play-off hole to slide out the race, but when Payne missed his own 25-footer for birdie at the second extra hole, Young was finally able to taste victory.