Paul Waring on first European Tour title: I wasn't ever sure this day would come

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It took him 200 attempts, but Paul Waring is finally a European Tour winner after claiming the Nordea Masters in a playoff against Thomas Aiken. 

They say good things come to those who wait. Just a few weeks ago Richard McEvoy was celebrating his first win after 285 events on the European Tour, and now, Paul Waring is doing the same - winning his first title on his 200th appearance. 

For 33-year-old Waring, whose career has been blighted by injury and operations, it was a moment he thought might never come. 

“I'm ecstatic,” Waring said. “I wasn't ever sure this day would come in total honesty. I've tried so hard for many years to get to this point and it's nice to finally cross the line and be holding the trophy."

Just over a month ago he'd taken to social media to declare his hate for the sport. He'd had a high of qualifying for the US Open but it became one of four missed cuts in his previous five starts, the best result being a 72nd place in the Irish Open. 

In fact, the Nordea Masters was his first appearance since missing the weekend at the Scottish Open back in the middle of July. But it appeared the break was what he needed - although he was quick to quip on twitter after his victory that he still hates golf. 

Waring had held a share of the lead with Aiken heading in to the final round in Sweden, but it was the South African who gained the initial advantage over the opening few holes. 

Aiken birdied two of the first three to edge in front by one as Waring picked up a birdie of his own at the second, but soon back-to-back bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes would give the Englishman a one-shot lead.

Waring would extend that lead to two shots on two separate occasions, first with an approach to 10 feet on the par-three 10th, and again on the par-three 12th after Aiken made a gain to pull it back to one-shot on the 11th. 

An untimely first bogey of the day for Waring on the 15th cut his lead to one, leaving him to head to the final hole of the day one shot clear. It was a tap-in par for Waring on the last, but Aiken made no mistakes from the sand, getting up and down for birdie to force a playoff between the pair after both shooting 68s to get to 14-under-par. 

Aiken's comeback was short-lived. On the first playoff hole Waring remained in control, finding the fairway as they replayed the 18th hole, while his opponent put his ball in to the water. 

He took a drop but couldn't recover, giving Waring three putts for his first European Tour title. 

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"It wasn't easy. I felt really in control though. I've made a few swing changes so I was kind of allowing myself to hit some bad shots now and again, so I wasn't getting too wound up in where the ball was going."

For Paul, it's the culmination of hard work and belief over long periods of forced absence from the sport after dealing with two serious injuries over the past decade. 

Waring came through Q-School 11 years ago in 2007, but missed a large part of both 2011 and 2012 with a wrist injury, before being handed a major medical exemption thanks to a shoulder injury over 2015 and 2016 that required surgery. 

Since returning full time in 2017 Waring recorded a best finish of T2 at last year's Joburg Open, and a career-best top 60 finish in the Race to Dubai rankings. But he was still waiting for that elusive victory... that was until Sunday in Sweden. 

"It feels like it's all worth it. I've had a couple of operations along the way and it's nice to finally have got to this point. I'm sure that everyone back home will be absolutely thrilled for me. This is all for everyone back home as well."

"I've got a great team around me so this is all for them as well."