Victor Perez overcame Matthew Southgate in an enthralling final day duel to win his first European Tour title at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
The Frenchman has been based in nearby Dundee since last year and used all the links expertise he has gathered in his 18 months living on Scotland’s east coast to card a 70 over the Old Course at St Andrews and get to 22 under.
He and Southgate were tied at the top heading into the final day and they were still locked together on the 17th tee in a two horse race that ebbed and flowed throughout the afternoon.
A Southgate bogey on the penultimate hole handed Perez the initiative and the Englishman signed for a 71 to finish a shot back on the course where he had won the St Andrews Links Trophy as an amateur nine years previously.
Swede Joakim Lagergren finished at 20 under after a 69 for a third top four finish at this event, with England’s Paul Waring alongside him after a 70.
Perez graduated from the European Challenge Tour after finishing third on the Rankings last season and now moves into the top 70 in the Official World Ranking and the top 20 in the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex.
“The emotions were really high all day,” he said. “It was really cold and windy, a long day out there and I felt I was able to battle.
“It wasn’t easy, Matt played amazing. I was expecting some of the guys to charge and we were fortunate that it was kind of a one on one battle on the back nine.
“JP (caddie) knows the three courses like the back of his pocket, especially St Andrews, and it was a huge advantage for me to know where to hit it and really trust him.”
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