Perez claims maiden win at Alfred Dunhill Links Championship


Victor Perez triumphed during a dramatic finale in Scotland to win his maiden European Tour title the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Victor Perez came out on top of a final round tussle with Matthew Southgate to claim his first European Tour title on 22-under-par.

Perez, who has been based in nearby Dundee since last year, finished with a final round 70 on the Old Course at St Andrews to edge out Southgate by a single stroke after the Englishman faltered over the closing stretch.

In the end though, the celebrations belonged to the Frenchman as both men parred the last.

"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.

"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 and Southgate took a share of the lead in to the final round, and the advantage quickly belonged to the eventual champion after an opening bogey from his playing partner. 

The duo shared their first birdies of the day at the fifth, but quickly Southgate took control, making back to back birdies at the sixth and seventh to pull one shot clear, before answering Perez's gain at the eighth with another birdie at nine.

That lead increased to two shots when Perez failed to save par at the 11th, but everything soon changed just three holes later when the French player managed a birdie at the 14th, while Southgate duffed his chip at the same hole and dropped his second shot of the day. 

With the pair locked at the top once more, Southgate blinked first, making a bogey at the penultimate hole to put Perez back in front by a stroke. In the end, a final-hole par was enough was victory. 

Sweden's Joakim Lagergren and England's Paul Waring finished in third place at 20-under, while a group of five players that included Jordan Smith and Tommy Fleetwood shared fifth place at 19-under. 

Fleetwood didn't walk away empty handed though, claiming the Pro-Am trophy with partner Odgen Phipps on 39-under-par. They actually tied for first place with Rory McIlroy and his dad Gerry, but because there is no playoff and Fleetwood had a final round 64 to McIlroy's 67, they claimed the trophy through the technicality.