One day on and nonetheless Richard Bland’s maiden victory at the 478th attempt continued to impress emotional reward, with American Fred Couples becoming a member of the highest names of Europe golf in sending his congratulations to the Staffordshire veteran.
As the sector assembled right here in South Carolina for this week’s 103rd USPGA Championship, no person anticipated the chatter to concern the ultimate spherical of the Betfred British Masters at the Belfry on Saturday. But Bland’s play-off victory over Italian Guido Migliozzi plainly touched so many.
At 48, Bland turned the oldest first-time winner on the European Tour. Migliozzi, 24, was not even born when Bland turned a primary skilled in 1996, a indisputable fact that underlined his extraordinary perseverance to realize his dream.
He was pressured to returned to qualifying college on umpteen events however refused to stroll away, whilst he hit all-time low when shedding his card but once more three years in the past. Here was a lesson in by no means giving up.
“I have seen something that has inspired me and reminded me of why golf is the greatest game,” Couples, the previous world No 1, tweeted. “Richard Bland who hadn’t won in his previous 477 professional starts wins the #britishmasters in a playoff on the @europeantour. Congrats @blandy73 on the first and wishing you many more!”
Bland’s compatriots Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and Ian Poulter, who’re right here getting ready for the season’s second main, publicly expressed their admiration, with the latter telling Bland: “Happy to see that flame still burns. Hard work pays off and you earned every piece of this victory. Enjoy.”
It was not solely the golf world who have been enthused. Actor Stephen Fry mentioned: “If at first you don’t succeed… Richard Bland has just won the British Masters at 48 years old, his first ever win. 478 tournaments as a professional. Everyone on the European Tour cheering him on. Much weeping. Terrific.”
The £290,000 victory – simply his greatest payday – will see Bland rise contained in the world’ high 150 when the rankings are issued on Monday, however somewhat method off his profession excessive of 102 5 years in the past.
His subsequent goal is to achieve the 500-tournament mark and with a two-year exemption he acquired for the victory he ought to, barring harm, full that activity. “That was a big incentive for me and this will allow me to do it,” he mentioned. For now, he has mom has promised to make him a lamb dinner on Tuesday to have a good time.
On the Ladies European Tour, Lee-Anne Pace made historical past on the circuit’s first occasion of the season by changing into the primary participant to win the Investec South African Women’s Open for the fourth time. The 40-year-old shot a level-par to complete on two-over at Westlake Golf Club in Cape Town and beat Germany’s Leonie Harm by a stroke in her residence province.
“I haven’t won since 2014 so I’m over the moon, Pace said. “As well as becoming the first to win this title on four occasions, I also get in the US Women’s Open and I really wanted that spot.”
Scotland’s Kylie Henry was the main Briton, in a tie for twentieth, 10 off the tempo.