HOME favourite Graham Fox saved the best till last in the Scottish PGA Championship at West Kilbride Golf Club - but ultimately it was Alastair Forsyth bridged a 22-year title gap to claim the title.

Fox signed off the defence of the title over his home course with a his best round of the week - a four-under-par 67 - to jump into fifth place on the overall leaderboard.

In a thrilling finale to the Arnold Clark Tartan Tour’s flagship event, Forsyth, the national champion back in 2000, edged out Paul O’Hara at the second play-off hole after both players had finished tied at the top on 15-under following closing rounds of 68 and 71 respectively.

There was also an element of revenge to Forsyth’s conquest. Three years ago, he lost in a play-off for the national crown to O’Hara at Downfield.

“We got there in the end,” he said with a jubilant gasp. “This win is probably more satisfying than my first one.

"Back in 2000, I was up-and-coming and I had my main Tour card. This win was less expected because I’m not playing as much these days.

"I know my game is good enough but the question is whether it is sharp enough. It was this week.”

Forsyth had been three strokes behind the frontrunning O’Hara heading into the final day.

When he sagged to a double-bogey on the third, his ambitions looked dead in the water. The 46-year-old got the head down, though, and mounted a spirited salvage operation.

“You either let that kind of thing bother you, or you grind it out,” he said.

A birdie on the fifth aided the fightback before he flighted a superb 7-iron into three-feet at the seventh which spawned an eagle. 

At one point, O’Hara held a four-shot lead over the field but, with a birdie on the 15th, Forsyth inched himself to the front by a stroke.

Alastair Forsyth on his way to victory in the Scottish PGA Championship at West KilbrideAlastair Forsyth

O’Hara, playing in the match behind, responded swiftly with a birdie of his own at 15 to move back into a share of the lead. Neither player could forge any more gains coming home and they headed for the sudden-death shoot-out.

The bold O’Hara unleashed the heavy artillery down the first and held his breath as his drive ended up on the bank of the burn that crosses the fairway. Fortune certainly favoured the brave. 

With Forsyth safely on the green in two, O’Hara then dinked a superbly executed recovery shot to within six-feet. Forsyth’s raking birdie putt to win missed while O’Hara spurned his chance when his effort kissed the cup.

On they went to the 18th and O’Hara’s approach found the right-hand bunker. Forsyth made a steady par and watched as his rival, who had splashed out to six-feet, caressed the cup again with a putt to extend the play-off. The title, and the £4,210 first prize, belonged to Forsyth.

“It was a strange day,” added Forsyth.

“I wasn’t out if it after the third round but you sometimes think you’re unlikely to catch Paul when he gets his nose in front.

“I actually didn’t look at the scores at all until I saw the board on the 18th and got a pleasant surprise to see I was sharing the lead. I assumed Paul would be out in front.

"This is our national championship. It’s the one we all want to win. To do it again is very, very pleasing.”

This was O’Hara’s fourth runners-up finish in the Scottish PGA and the 2019 champion said: “I missed so many putts during the round and it was the same in the play-off. I missed a five-footer to win and then a six-footer to keep it going.

"My pace was just miles out. It was not like me at all.”

Craig Lee, last year’s runner-up, closed with a 70 to finish third on 10-under while Graeme Robertson earned the prize for the leading trainee after a 70 gave him fourth on nine-under.