Gavins wins at Ballymena, Anannarukarn tops women's event

(AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

BALLYMENA, Northern Ireland (AP) England's Daniel Gavins overturned a seven-shot deficit to claim his first European Tour title at the World Invitational on Sunday, and Thailand's Pajaree Anannarukarn recovered from a triple bogey to win the women's tournament after a playoff.

Gavins carded a bogey-free, 5-under 65 in the final round at Ballymena to set the clubhouse target of 13-under par that none of the later starters proved able to match.

Compatriot David Horsey (72) held a share of the lead until losing a ball on the 18th following a wild tee shot to finish a shot behind in second. New Zealand's Daniel Hillier (70) had been 13 under before dropping shots on the 16th and 17th. He finished tied for third on 11 under with overnight leader Jordan Smith (74), Alejandro Canizares (67) and Masahiro Kawamura (69).

Gavins, who was ranked 995th in the world at the end of 2020, had never previously recorded a single top-10 finish on the European Tour.

"I just tried to shoot as low as I could," he told Sky Sports. "Seven behind I didn't really think I had a chance of winning so maybe there was a bit less pressure there."

Horsey was left to rue pushed tee shots into the water on the 11th and 13th, as well as the hooked drive on the last.

Smith reached 17 under with birdies on the second and fourth, but ran up a triple bogey on the sixth after attempting a risky recovery shot from the base of a tree but hitting a root before the ball and seeing it ricochet backwards into his own caddie and bag.

In the women's event, Anannarukarn (70) overcame a triple bogey on the sixth hole to beat American Emma Talley (70) on the second hole of a playoff.

The pair had begun the day tied for the lead with Jennifer Kupcho (71) and the same trio reached the 18th tee locked together on 16 under, only for Kupcho to make a costly bogey after pulling her approach into the water.

Both players made par on the first extra hole and another on the second was enough for Anannarukarn to secure her first LPGA Tour title after Talley missed the green with a mis-hit approach.

"Honestly I'm just speechless," Anannarukarn said. "To win here is a special memory."

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Updated August 1, 2021

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