Gibson felled by playoff chip-in on Tour

NSW’s Rhein Gibson has kept his solid form going from last week’s Barracuda Championship in Reno, narrowly missing out on his first Tour title when Monday qualifier Rick Lamb chipped in for birdie on the second playoff hole to win the inaugural LECOM Health Challenge in New York State.

Lamb, whose great uncle was IMG founder Mark McCormack, hit his second shot over the green on the par-5 finishing hole to set up his heroic pitch-in.

After making a meal of his first chip for eagle, the 25-year-old drained the next one from just off the back of the green to beat Dominic Bozzelli, Cheng Tsung Pan and Gibson, after the quartet tied at 19-under-par 269 at the end of regulation play.

“It hasn’t set in yet,” said Lamb, who only had conditional status on Tour before his win. “Everything happened so quick. It’s just one of those days where everything went my way. It couldn’t have turned out any better.”

Lamb finished an hour ahead of the leaders after setting a new course record at Peek’n Peak Resort’s Upper Course a 9-under 63.

“I was just trying to stay loose,” said Lamb, about waiting to find out his fate. “I thought someone might come in at 20-under, but I tried to stay in it mentally just in case there was a playoff.”

“It’s completely life changing. The money puts me in the top 25 on the money list and now sets me up for the final stretch to potentially get a card.”

Gibson and Pan both had putts to extend the playoff after Lamb’s chip in but were both unsuccessful, Gibson hitting a good putt from 12 feet that slid by the hole to the left.

“Good week,” Gibson said, who birdied two of the last three holes just to get into the playoff. “I had a chance there on the first playoff hole, hit a really good putt it just didn’t go in.”

“Rick had trouble with the first chip and made the second chip so hats off to him. All-in-all, it was a good week.”

The only other Australian to make the weekend cut, Oliver Goss, finished in tied 68th place at 2-under par.

Gibson now takes further momentum back to the PGA TOUR to join a contingent of 8 Australians contesting this week’s Barbasol Championship in Alabama, being played opposite The Open Championship at Royal Troon.