Australian Maverick Antcliff has enjoyed his best-ever result in a European Tour event, finishing runner-up in the Canary Islands Championship with a superb 21-under-par performance.
Alas for the man who hails from Beaudesert, the same Queensland town as Jason Day, his heroics at Golf Costa Adeje weren’t enough to topple inspired runaway champ Garrick Higgo, who won by six shots and recorded his first career hole-in-one en route to Sunday’s triumph.
Higgo, the 21-year-old left-hander from South Africa who also won the Gran Canaria Open, cruised to his second victory in three weeks, shooting a final round 64 with the help of an ace at the par-three seventh.
His winning total of 27-under was just two shots outside the European Tour record held by fellow South African Ernie Els and meant he was an incredible 68-under overall for the three-week Canary Islands swing.
“I need to check if there’s something in the water,” joked Higgo, who will celebrate his 22nd birthday in the United States on Wednesday ahead of his major debut in the US PGA Championship.
“I played so well today. I hit the ball very nice so it was a lot less stressful than the last time. I can’t believe it happened so quickly again, but my game has been good so I can believe it as well.
“You definitely dream about all of these things. I definitely believed I could do it, but it is nice that it’s actually happened.”
Antcliff’s rounds of 70, 64, 64 and 65 might have been good enough to win other tournaments but the 28-year-old Australian could at least look back on his best-ever finish on the European Tour.
The splendidly-named Antcliff, who’s long been nicknamed ‘Top Gun’ because his given name’s the same as the Tom Cruise character in the Hollywood film, went one better than his third-place finish at the Irish Open last year.
Antcliff, who’s had success previously on the China Tour, could also savour a cheque for 151,810 Euros ($A235,400), his biggest payday on the Tour so far.
He recorded an eagle, five birdies and the only bogey he’d suffered in his final three rounds as he held off Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen for the runner’s-up spot by one shot.
Victory takes the rising star Higgo to the verge of the world’s top 50 and he has no intention of resting on his laurels.
“I think I can go as high as I want to,” he added. “The way I’m playing I can do a lot of good things.”
Ireland’s Niall Kearney was part of a five-way tie for fourth on 19-under after threatening to card the second 59 in European Tour history.
An eagle, nine birdies and a bogey in his first 16 holes left Kearney needing to play the final two in two-under, but he could only par the eighth and ninth to return a superb 61 and equal the course record.