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Viewers were treated to an absolute birdie fest over the final round of the Hero Open in Scotland, with players making charges from all areas of the leaderboard. However, on a day where level par shot you backwards, it was Sean Crocker who held on, as he secured his first DP World Tour title.
The American had been leading the tournament more or less from the very first day, with Crocker enjoying a two shot lead as he entered the final round on Sunday. After three birdies on four holes to open his back nine, he managed to par in to secure a one shot win over Eddie Pepperell, who fired a classy closing 65.
"Winning a golf tournament isn't easy!" joked Cocker following his win. "Eddie did not make it easy for me either. After the three-putt par at the 15th I felt I still had a little bit of breathing room but it's a tough run of holes down that stretch. I had a great save on 17 and it's never easy to win a tournament, even with a par 5 down the last!
"I was nervous as hell over that final putt. It looked like it was 20-feet and the hole looked half-an-inch wide, but right off the face I knew it was there. When I saw it drop I said don't start crying. This win shows that this game doesn't know what's going to bring you. We go out there and try our hardest and nothing comes, then all of a sudden you have a week like this and it makes me appreciate this game and the fact I do it for a living."
"Winning a golf tournament is NOT easy" 🏆Hear from Sean Crocker after winning in St Andrews.#HeroOpen pic.twitter.com/UhuBg1CzpjJuly 31, 2022
Beginning the day two shots ahead, Crocker made two birdies and a bogey over his first six holes. However, his advantage was evaporated as Pepperell and Oliver Hundeboll made early charges.
Pars over the remaining few holes meant a one-under-par front nine, but Crocker soon fired some birdies of his own, as gains at the 10th, 12th and 13th pushed his advantage to two.
That gap remained for much of the back nine; that was until Pepperell birdied the last to set the target at 21-under-par. Having tee'd off around an hour after the Englishman, Crocker still had a few holes remaining of his round, with a one shot buffer the only thing between him and a maiden victory.
Following a par at the 16th, there was a moment of panic for Crocker at the par 3 17th when his first putt ran some six-feet by. The American held his nerve though, calmly rolling in his putt to move to the 18th with his margin intact.
Finding the green with his third at the par 5 last, the 25-year-old weighted his first putt perfectly as it finished three-feet from the hole. Watching his playing partners finish up, the moment was Crocker's, as he rolled his putt in to win the biggest title of his young career.
Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
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