Pipped to the punch?

Recently, one of our publications ran a headline that contained the phrase 'pipped to the punch'.

Although the headline in question had nothing to do with me, I thought 'pipped to the punch' was interesting because it seemed to be an amalgamation of two common idioms: 'pipped to/at the post' and 'beaten to the punch'.

In one sense, 'pipped to the punch' was a good choice as it filled the space on the page better than 'pipped to/at the post' would have done while retaining the alliteration.

In another sense, it was a bad choice as 'pipped to the punch' isn't a recognised idiom (although its meaning is easily deducible, I would hazard, to native speakers).

Interestingly, Google returns just four results for 'pipped to the punch'...

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