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Old August 1, 2017, 12:39 AM
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Jordan Smith Secures Maiden European Tour Title in Germany

By: Derek Clements | Mon 31 Jul 2017 | Comments


JORDAN SMITH crowned his extraordinary maiden season on the European Tour when he defeated defending champion Alex Levy to win the Porsche European Open at Green Eagles Golf Club in Hamburg in a playoff. The Englishman started the final round with a two-shot lead but in a topsy-turvy afternoon, the lead changed hands several times.

Levy led by a single shot as he stood at the 18th tee, but Smith holed a 10-foot birdie putt to get to 13 under and join the Frenchman. At the first extra hole, Levy had a short putt to win but missed, so they headed back to the 18th tee once again.

Smith nearly holed his putt for an eagle and then tapped in to win his first tournament in only his 25th start. It completes an amazing run for Smith - in 2015 he won the EuroPro Tour order of merit and last year won the Road to Oman on the Challenge. He wasted no time securing his card for 2018 with a series of excellent finishes. All that was missing from his CV was a victory, and he has now put that right.

"It's all a bit surreal," Smith said. "Obviously the Challenge Tour last year and the EuroPro the year before that. It's been fun. I had a really good start to the year and the first aim was just to secure my Tour card, which I managed to do. And then the second goal was to win an event, which I've also now managed to do."

Smith extended his advantage to three strokes when he rolled in his six-foot birdie putt at the first to move to 13 under par. But Levy holed his bunker shot at the second to cut Smith's lead back to two shots. And when Smith dropped his first shot of the day, and only his fourth of the week, after sending his approach to the edge of the water hazard at the sixth, Levy cut his lead to a single stroke. A birdie at the eighth took Levy level with Smith and when the Englishman missed a short par putt he suddenly found himself trailing.

They were level again at the 10th after Levy found trouble from the tee and was forced to take a penalty drop, and Smith went back in front with a birdie at the 11th. However, the Englishman left his bunker shot at the 13th well short of the hole and failed to convert his 20-foot par putt.

Levy and Smith both made birdies from inside ten feet at the 15th to get to 12 under before Levy reclaimed the outright lead with another birdie at the 16th. But Smith got up and down from the rough behind the green for a birdie at the last to take it to extra holes.

Smith said: "I've loved it. It's been nerve-wracking at times but I've really enjoyed it. The whole week tee to green is probably the best I have played all year, probably struggled a little bit on the greens, but it came together at the right time.”

Levy was disappointed not to have made a successful defence but said he was happy with the way he had played. “I’m really proud of what I did today," he said. "I shoot three under in the conditions that were really tough and I played really well. I think there are a lot of good things coming for me in the next few months. I hit some pure shots. I struggled a bit today on the putting but I think I played really good golf and I improved my game week after week and that’s really nice.

“I don’t feel a lot of pressure. My dream was to win this tournament for my birthday present in two days but I didn’t do that. I’m really pleased with what I did and I’m really happy.”

Diminutive Bangladeshi golfer Siddikur Rahman, who finished tied for third with Johan Edfors, was thrilled with his week's work, especially as he is one of the shortest hitters in the game and the course was playing long - really long. He finished with a 68 for an 11 under par total of 277.

“It was a really great day. I couldn’t expect this today but I am very fortunate my hitting was good, especially my putting – it was really good all four days – so I am really happy with today’s round," Rahman said.

“The second shot unfortunately (on the 18th) went to the left and into the hazard, I talked to myself andsaid no problem as there is still a long way to go, one good shot, maybe one good putt. I was really inspired by the clapping and after that the putt was quite memorable.

“My putting and short game, without out that it’s not possible to play like this.”
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