Zimbabwe’s golf star Scott Vincent pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in Japan Golf Tour history to win the Gateway to The Open Mizuno Open for his third victory on Tour.
With his latest victory, Vincent also punched his ticket to The 150th Open, where he will be making his major debut at the Old Course at St Andrews in July.
Trailing by seven at the start of the final round, Vincent fired a seven-under-par 65 to force Australia’s Anthony Quayle into a sudden-death playoff before beating the latter in the second extra hole with a par at the JFE Setonaikai Golf Club on Sunday.
Vincent’s sizzling bogey-free round contained one eagle and five birdies.
It was certainly a day to forget for Quayle after blowing a commanding four-shot lead overnight. The Australian could only salvage a 72 after dropping three bogeys for as many birdies.
After clinging to a slender one-shot lead with two holes remaining, a third bogey on the 17th hole put paid to Quayle’s hopes of claiming an outright win.
Vincent joined him atop the leaderboard before both completed regulation play with a matching 12-under-par 276 total.
The first extra hole ended all square after Vincent and Quayle parred the replay at the par-five 18th.
“Each week, I don’t really try to worry too much about the expectations,” said Vincent, who won his first two JGTO titles last year at the ANA Open and Sansan KBC Augusta.
“I just focus on sticking to my routine and giving myself the best chance. And this is one of those weeks that has worked out well for me.
“I had no idea where I was standing (on the leaderboard) when I walked up to the 18 and when I realised that I was sitting second (at that stage). To make the playoff and then win it, that was pretty amazing and unbelievable!”
Vincent was also delighted to have accomplished one of his main targets this year – securing a major start.
“I’m really excited about playing my first major, especially at St Andrews, the Home of Golf,” he said.
“It’s a goal of mine, starting the year to try to get into one of the majors. I missed out on Monday (Japan’s US Open Sectional Qualifying), but I was able to secure it today.
“So, this is special, and I’m very happy.”
Quayle was lost for words following his late meltdown, but he can certainly take some consolation after earning a place in The Open for his major debut.
“That would be a lot of fun (competing at The Open), I’m not thinking about that at the moment, but I’m going to be looking forward to that,” he said briefly.
It marked the second time Quayle failed to win after leading the penultimate stage. In 2019, he went to the final round of the Casio World Open but would eventually settle for third.
Australia’s Brad Kennedy settled for outright third after closing with a 70 while Justin De Los Santos of the Philippines secured fourth place when he signed off with a 68. Both Kennedy and De Los Santos also earned their tickets to St. Andrews after emerging as one of the four leading finishers, not otherwise exempt.
Congratulations to Scott Vincent, Anthony Quayle, Brad Kennedy and Justin De Los Santos, who have qualified for The 150th Open at St Andrews as the top four finishers at the Mizuno Open 👏 pic.twitter.com/6zXxC6vNRV
— The Open (@TheOpen) May 29, 2022