Southampton golfer wins European tour title at 478th attempt

An emotional Richard Bland clinches victory at the Belfry Credit: PA

Hampshire golfer Richard Bland dramatically clinched victory in a play-off to win the Betfred British Masters- on his 478th attempt at a European tour title.

The 48 year old defeated Guido Migliozzi at the Belfry - becoming the oldest first-time winner in European Tour history.

Richard Bland with the trophy Credit: PA

Bland took the first hole of a sudden-death play-off against Italian Migliozzi- half his age at 24- to earn the win.

The pair had finished on 13 under after final rounds of 66 and 68.

Bland, who made just one bogey all week, said: “It’s probably going to take a few days to sink it. It’s what I’ve worked for for 20 years. I’ve had a few close calls and I assume someone up there was looking down on me quite favourably today.

“A big incentive for me this year was to get to 500 events and this will allow me to do that, which I’ll be hugely proud of.”

Bland admitted that the lowest point of his career came when he lost his card in 2018, a situation exacerbated by his brother Heath suffering from a life-threatening illness which saw him placed in an induced coma for a month at the start of the year.

“This is one for him as well,” Bland added. “It took a lot of guts for me to go back to the Challenge Tour at 46 years old when you’re probably old enough to be most of the guys’ father.

“I wasn’t there to make friends – although I did and it was great – but it was purely get your head down, get the job down and back to where I felt like I belong. I knew there was unfinished business out here and I’m just pleased that I proved I can do it.

“I loved it down the stretch out there. I had a one-shot lead with six holes to play and hit the shots when I needed to and that’s a huge confidence boost going forwards.

“Who knows? Maybe it’s like buses. None come around for ages and then two come along in quick succession.”