Jake Shepherd produced an inspired performance to win the MENA Golf Tour Championship, beating a charging Sean McNamara in a sudden-death playoff at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old professional from England birdied the first playoff hole (the par-5, 18th) from four feet after both the players carded an identical 12-under-par 201 to register the biggest victory of his career since turning professional.
With this win, which carried a cash prize of $13,500, Shepherd also walked away with the Order of Merit title with total earnings of $17,749. Peter Richardson ($15,087), also of England, and America’s McNamara ($13,271) followed the leader on the Order of Merit for professionals.
The top three were handed invitations to compete in the 2012 Omega Dubai Desert Classic to be held in February along with Morocco’s Ahmed Marjan, who topped the Order of Merit for amateurs.
His Highness Dr. Shaikh Sultan bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan presented the prizes in the company of HH Shaikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Arab Golf Federation, HE Mohammed Rashid Al Nasseri, general manager of Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club, and Mohamed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the MENA Golf Tour.
The day belonged to young Shepherd who kept his cool when it mattered most to put the Al Khaimah Classic meltdown behind him. Starting the day one shot off the pace, Shepherd needed a birdie on the closing hole, a par-5, to match McNamara’s score.