A “horrible horseshoe” at the last hole dashed Tartan Tour stalwart Stephen Gray’s hopes of winning the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Par 3 Championship as Englishman David Dixon claimed the title in Aberdeen.
Overnight leader Gray had retained his two-shot cushion with a circuit to go on the Devenick Course at the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre before falling behind his playing partner following a bogey at the penultimate hole.
A play-off looked to be on the cards when Dixon, a 41-year-old from Somerset, missed a 10-foot par putt at the last but Gray looked on in horror as his attempt from three feet spun out of the hole.
That left Dixon, who won the Silver Medal as leading amateur in the 2001 Open Championship at Royal Lytham, to pick up a first prize worth £3750 after closing with a three-under 51 for a 105 total.
“That was a nice way for things to turn out for me,” admitted Dixon, a member of the first Great Britain & Ireland side to win the PGA Cup on US soil at CordeValle in California in 2015. “I’m well chuffed about that as I’ve had a really good few days.
“I was about to say ‘good putt’ to to Stevie when it did a horrible horseshoe. It wasn’t a nice way for him to finish after playing so well.
“I was actually more focused on the team event as me and my partner were trying to pull off one of the greatest comebacks of all time in that.”
Dixon, winner of the 2008 Saint-Omer Open on the European Tour, is hoping to come off the reserve list to get into next week’s SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge at Macdonald Spey Valley in Aviemore.
“My putter was behaving unbelievably good out there so if can take that into next week, then that would be good,” he added.
“I’m heading back home for the weekend to spend some time with my kids, especially as it’s Father’s Day on Sunday then will head back up raring to go next week.”
Gray, a former Tartan Tour Order of Merit winner, finished on 106, three ahead of host club man Craig Lawrie.
“I thought it was in and started just walking to it,” said Gray, who is attached to Lanark, of his cruel finish. “But it horseshoed out. It’s one of those things in golf.
“I’d played pretty well and it was a nip and tuck all the way. I holed something like an 80 footer on the fifth (his 14th) to get me back to four-under.
“But, on the eighth, I had a wee nestly lie and it came out soft and left me 10-feet short and that was a bogey. It’s been a good week, though.”
Heather MacRae fared best among seven female professionals in the field, finishing level with Shot Clock Masters runner-up Connor Syme in joint-11th on five-over-par.
“Apart from a triple-bogey yesterday and a double-bogey today, I played pretty solid,” said the former Gleneagles assistant who is now based in Portugal.
Tournament host Paul Lawrie finished joint-28th on 118, two ahead of 2005 US Open champion Michael Campbell.