Seamus Power hangs on for victory at windswept Butterfield Bermuda Championship

As the top-ranked player in the field at No. 48 in the world, Seamus Power played with the knowledge that he was the favorite in a PGA Tour field for the first time. It didn’t bother him one bit.

Power poured in a 25-foot downhill birdie putt at No. 14 and withstood a couple of late bogeys to notch a one-stroke victory at the PGA Tour’s Butterfield Bermuda Championship.

“I knew it was going to be really hard coming in and it was,” Power said. “I made hard work of it at the end but delighted to get it done.”

Power, the 54-hole co-leader, set a tournament record with 28 birdies for the week, including five in the final round. He closed with a 1-under 70 on Sunday at Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, Bermuda, for a 72-hole total of 19-under 265 to beat Belgium’s Thomas Detry (67).

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In windy conditions that must have reminded the 35-year-old Irishman of home, Power earned his second Tour title by making three birdies in his first seven holes and hanging on as the conditions worsened.

“It was a challenge on every putt, every tee shot,” said Detry, who holed a bunker shot at the last for birdie to secure solo second. “It was a commitment out there.”

Ben Griffin, who just 21 months ago had quit the game and had been working as a mortgage officer, made six birdies on his first 11 holes to stake himself to a two-stroke lead before his game unraveled. Port Royal is the shortest course on the Tour, but the wind is the major hazard a golfer must contend with and it howled to 35 miles per hour. The second nine is more exposed to the wind and Griffin’s game was blown away by the frisky gusts that nudged balls in all directions and the growing pressure of trying to close out his first win. He made four bogeys and a double bogey in a five-hole span to shoot 1-over 72 and tumble into a three-way tie for third. (On the bright side, it marks his best career result in eight Tour starts.)

“I had a couple shots get loose in the wind and you’ve got to be a little bit better, more precise when it gets windy like that or else you can kind of grind for pars and bogeys quick. That happened to me,” Griffin said. “It’s a learning experience and I’m just happy to be out here competing. I know my time will come soon.”

Power can relate to how hard it is to win. Fifteen times in his Tour career, Power had been in the top 10 heading into Sunday and only once had he improved his position, which was his victory in a six-hole playoff at the Barbasol Championship last summer. This time, Power believed in himself and his birdie putt at the par-4 14th hugged its line. It proved to be the turning point just after Griffin hooked his tee shot into trouble and made bogey. That two-stroke swing gave Power the lead and he never let go of it.

“They talk about trying to win for the first time or the second time, usually the guys who’ve been there before when the door is open, they smell it,” Golf Channel’s Curt Byrum said. “They stand there and they walk right through that opening.”

An imposing sequence of finishing holes test not only the skills but the nerves of a player. Bothered by a whipping west wind, Power gave a stroke back at 15, then took three putts from 70 feet at 16, but bounced back with a birdie at 17 and needed the cushion because he bogeyed the last.

“Completely different feeling but just as special,” Power said of validating his first win, which is expected to lift him to a career-best No. 32 in the world. “To be able to win again, it’s fantastic.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek