Rookie Victor Perez posted a Sunday round of 2-under 70 to claim his first European Tour title at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
The 27-year-old Perez, who was making his 29th Tour start, missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole, but a tap-in par gave him a one-shot victory over Matthew Southgate (71).
“The emotions were really high all day,” said Perez, who graduated from the European Challenge Tour after finishing third on the Rankings last season.
“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.
“There’s nothing like a win. The confidence that you get from getting it done, it’s so difficult at this level to win. Being my first year, I’m obviously delighted.”
Perez finished his final day at the Old Course at St. Andrews with three birdies against one bogey (on the par-3 11th) to reach 22-under par.
Southgate, meanwhile, took the lead at the turn following a four-birdie blitz (Nos. 5, 6, 7, and 9), but a birdie-free final-nine with a pair of bogeys on Nos. 14 and 17 gave the edge to Perez.
Joakim Lagergren (69) and Paul Waring (70) finished T3 on 20 under, one clear of Tommy Fleetwood, who carded a final-day 64 to finish three shots off the pace.
Matthew Jordan, Tom Lewis, Jordan Smith and Jeunghun Wang joined Fleetwood at 19 under.
With the victory, the 27-year old Frenchman cracked the top 100 in the world rankings (at No. 72) for the first time in his career.
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Name: Victor Perez
Height: 6′ 5″
Weight: 190 lb
Birthdate: September 2, 1992 (age 27)
Native: Semeac, France
College: University of New Mexico
Final Scores: Top 5
Pos-Player-To Par (Final Rd)
1. Victor Perez -22 (-2)
2. Matthew Southgate -21 (-1)
3. Joakim Lagergren -20 (-3)
3. Paul Waring -20 (-2)
5. Tommy Fleetwood -19 (-8)
5. Tom Lewis -19 (-8)
5. Matthew Jordan -19 (-4)
5. Jeunghun Wang -19 (-4)
5. Jordan Smith -19 (-3)
Perez’s Winning Numbers
Driving: 300.3 yards (19th)
Fairways: 44/62, 72.1% (17th)
Greens: 65/72, 90.3% (2nd)
Putts/GIR: 111/1.708 (18th)
Scores: 27 Birdies, 40 Pars, 5 Bogeys
2019 European Tour Season
Cuts Made: 14
Wins: 1 (Alfred Dunhill Links Championship)
Addtl Top 10s: 4
Earnings: € 1,844,104
RTD Pts: 1465.5 (17th)
World Rank Before/After: 184/70
Willett’s Career Victories
European Tour: 1
2019 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Challenge Tour: 2
2018 Foshan Open
2017 Challenge de España
WITB: Victor Perez
Driver: Ping G410 Plus (9˚)
Fairway: Ping G410 (14.5°)
Fairway: Ping G410 (17.5°)
Irons: Ping iBlade (4-6)
Irons: Ping Blueprint (7-PW)
Wedges: Ping Glide (46˚, 52˚, 56˚, 60˚)
Putter: Ping BLD Brunzer
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Source: National Club Golfer
Money & Points
With his win, Perez earned € 732,265 and 915 Race to Dubai points. He will move to No. 17 in the points standings.
Perez also received 50 OWGR points, and will jump nearly 100 spots (from 170th) to No. 72 in the world rankings.
Video: Perez’s Winning Highlights
Source: European Tour/Youtube
“Obviously I felt like I had a solid day. I did my job and it was good enough, and next thing you know, you’re a winner on the European Tour. You have to take it how it comes and it’s a great win for me.”
– Victor Perez, 2019 Alfred Dunhill Links Champ
Credits: Getty Images, European Tour Media