5th Aegean Airlines Pro-AmAmerican Rinker Resists Sherborne's Last-Day Assault
A last-round charge by the experienced Andrew Sherborne - 20 years on the European Tour and two titles ? came too late to the prevent the American Lee Rinker, formerly of the US PGA Tour, from claiming the €7000 winner's cheque for the 5th Aegean Airlines Pro-Am.
With a birdie at the final hole Rinker finished with a three stroke cushion despite a final-round level-par. After having been three-under at one stage over the final 18 holes for an eight-under total at bthat time, and a five-shot lead he briefly threatened to let it slip before his final winning flourish.
As a queue of younger pros, including local Greek favourite Panos Karantzias, from across some 18 countries, worked manfully to prove their progress and worth, it was the two older colleagues, one now from America's Nationwide Tour and the other from Europe's Challenge Tour, who created the final-day drama.
Forty-nine-year-old Sherborne, who won his European Tour titles nearly 20 years ago, illustrated that, with senior status coming up fast, he still has that old competitive urge by emerging from the pack with a magnificent third round four under par 68, as the pros split from their amateur partners for the final day.
Bristolian Sherborne, who was leading amateur in the 1984 Open Championship, surged to a final 54-hole total of three under par, but that still left him three shots behind the triumphant 50 year old Rinker, from Florida, who moved to America's Nationwide Tour after relinquishing his PGA Tour card.
Also in the mix, surrounded by the scenic splendour of Greece's Messinia coastline on the sublime new Costa Navarino golf course were to former winners, Paul Nilbrink (2009) and Henrik Engdahl (2007) as this magnificent new Resort was showcased to an admiring international audience of 48 pros and their 3-man amateur teams.
Swede Engdahl had earned himself 'leader in the clubhouse' status on Day 1 with a round of three under, 69 and, to illustrate his affection for it he was representing Crete GC, where he scored his victory four years ago.
In the event the Swede was outgunned by his colleague from Florida but still finished with an admirable score of minus-three alongside Sherborne and Nilbrink as joint runners-up. Along with them below par was two Italian-based professionals, Zeke Martinez, (another American, from California, who has been at the Lamborginhi Club for many years), and Nicolo Gaggero.
Karantzias illustrated his calibre be ending on level par in a tournament when several players recorded sub-par rounds including another Swede, Jonathan Fransson, of the Taby GC, and Austria-based Martin Dewshurst of the Tuttendorf Driving Range and Croatian Darko Ljubanovic.