Mill Hill Golf Club’s Daniel Brooks won his first European Tour title at the Madeira Islands Open on Sunday, though his maiden victory was somewhat overshadowed by the death of caddie Iain McGregor.
McGregor, 52, who was on Alastair Forsyth’s bag, suffered a suspected heart attack on the ninth hole at Santo da Serra, which led to an indefinite suspension in play.
At 6pm – following consultation between the players and caddies – the decision was taken to resume play following a minute’s silence.
The round was reduced to 36 holes due to a series of fog delays, with Brooks finishing nine-under-par before beating Scott Henry in a play-off to secure his first tour win.
Brooks shot a four under par 68 in the first round and was five under in the final round with 67.
Henry had birdied the last three holes to force a play-off, but Brooks held his nerve to secure the win by making par on the first play-off hole.
Both players found the 18th green in two but Henry three putted from 25 feet right of the hole, with Brooks safely two putting from 12 feet for victory.
Victory came at the 33rd attempt for Brooks, whose previous highest finish was 11th at the Nelson Mandela Championship in South Africa in December.
Brooks, 26, was unavailable for comment, but his uncle, David Beal, who coaches and manages him was thrilled by the result.
"It was a bit of a moment, like when he got his full card," admitted Beal, who conceded the death of McGregor had detracted from what should have been a joyous occasion for Brooks.
Reflecting on the drama of the play-off, Beal said: "At three up with three to play to play, I thought ‘if he pars at par five, he’s won it.’
"Dan has always been a second bite at the cherry kind of person. Last year he played 15 tournaments and made four cuts. This years he’s made nine out of nine."
Despite criticism of the decision to play on in spite of the tragic passing of the Zimbabwian caddie – with Pablo Larrazabal among those to condemn the decision – Beal believes McGregor "would have wanted it to go on" – thoughts which were echoed by Forsyth.