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Norfolk golfer Harrold beaten in play-off in China

PUBLISHED: 17:38 26 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:38 26 March 2018

Norfolk golfer Will Harrold has made an big impression in the USPGA China Series. Picture: Leaderboard Photography

Norfolk golfer Will Harrold has made an big impression in the USPGA China Series. Picture: Leaderboard Photography

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Will Harrold suffered a heartbreaking near miss in his second USPGA China Series event at the weekend - but it has still been a superb start to the season for the Sheringham professional.

Harrold went into the final round of the Chongqing Championship with a five-shot lead under his belt and went on to play solidly to post a 71 for a 14 under-par total.

But he still ended up being pegged back by home player Yi Cao, whose brilliant nine under par 63 forced a sudden-death shoot-out.

Sadly there was to be no happy ending for the 29-year-old Norfolk player, with his opponent birdieing the first play-off to secure a dramatic win at Poly Golf Club’s South Course.

But having followed a joint second finish in the opening event at Chengdu with second on his own this time around Harrold was determined to focus on the positives after taking his earnings on the USPGA satellite tour to over £30,000.

Harrold, who had been aiming to become the Tour’s first British winner, said: “I played good, had a couple of bogeys, but I also made some good birdies so that’s just the way it is. I tried to keep calm, that was my goal. It sucks that I didn’t win but I was happy with how I played. I’m still happy, solo second as opposed to tied second, so it’s good. I am disappointed, but I’m not disappointed at the same time.”

After opening with birdies on the first two holes, Cao added three in a row from the seventh, picked up another three in succession, starting at 12, with his ninth birdie coming at 16. He then had to wait to see if Harrold could overtake him.

The Norfolk player had four birdies and three bogeys before making par on the last five holes to finish level. On the 542-yard par-five 18th, he had a sniff of winning in regulation but missed a difficult, 20-foot, downhill birdie putt.

Earlier rounds of 67, 66 and 70 had laid the foundations for a title bid that ended up falling just short, but Harrold is now second on the Order of Merit, with places on the USPGA second tier Web.com Tour on offer for the leading players at the end of the season.

The tour now takes a break before resuming with the Changsha Championship from May 3-6.

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