At the 478th attempt, after 25 years a pro and 10 humbling returns to qualifying school, 48-year-old Richard Bland at last won a European Tour title on Saturday. The Belfry has witnessed many emotional scenes - Ryder Cup moments that have lifted an entire continent - but in terms of personal fulfilment nothing tops the tears of the Tour’s oldest first-time winner. Certainly, the Betfred British Masters has never seen anything quite like it. The only shame was that the crowds were not allowed into the famous Midlands course. But then, the nerves were frayed enough by the time Bland, the immensely popular Staffordshire golfer, tapped in for the par which gave him the play-off victory over the Italian Guido Migliozzi. “I’ve finally done it,” Bland said. “It’s probably going to take a few days to sink in. 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.” Only countryman Malcolm MacKenzie (509) has taken more attempts to claim his maiden win. Bland made only one bogey all week and was inspired in his final-round 66 to set the clubhouse target on 13-under. But he seemed in danger of yet again being cruelly denied by Migliozzi, the impressive 24-year-old from Vicenza who was not even born when his rival joined the paid ranks.
Love, 57, has now withdrawn from next week's PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, where he has a past champion's exemption.
Crespi golfer Ivan Barahona Jr. is preparing for Southern Section golf finals.