HAMBURG: England’s Jordan Smith claimed the first title of his fledgling European Tour career on Sunday, beating defending champion Alexander Levy of France in a play-off at the European Open in Hamburg.
Smith had been two shots ahead overnight but he needed a birdie at the last on Sunday to force a play-off with both players tied at 13 under par.
He then survived on the first trip back down the 18th when Levy missed a close-range birdie putt to win.
Back down the 517-yard par-five last hole they came and this time Smith, 24, birdied to take the title and get his hands on the giant trophy as well as the winner’s cheque in the two million-euro ($2.4 million, £1.8 million) event.
Smith, a former Walker Cup player who turned professional in 2014 and was top ranked on the Challenge Tour last year, shot a one-under-par 71 featuring four birdies and three bogeys.
Levy had a second successive 69 on Sunday after play was suspended due to the threat of lightning in the morning on the Green Eagle course.
He led by a single shot as he stood at the 18th tee, but when Smith holed a 10-foot birdie putt to join the Frenchman at the summit, he was forced to tap in a tricky par putt just to force the play-off.
“It’s all a bit surreal,” Smith, who hails from Bath, told europeantour.com.
“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 managed to do.”
Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh and Johan Edfors of Sweden, two players ranked outside the top 350 in the world, finished tied for third place on 11-under.
South Africa’s former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, the highest-ranked player in the field at world number 21, shot a final round of 69 to finish in a tie for 12th at eight-under.
Further back, US Ryder Cup player Patrick Reed ended on six under par.