First Tour win was worth the 20-year wait – Bland

“That’s what we all work for, to win out here and try and prove yourself. I’ve had a few close calls and I assume someone up there was looking down on me quite favourably today. It was just my day”; Richard Bland targets another victory and the US Open after British Masters win

Last Updated: 15/05/21 8:43pm

4:06
Richard Bland was an emotional man speaking to his coach Tim Barter and his family after claiming his first European Tour win at the Betfred British Masters
Richard Bland was an emotional man speaking to his coach Tim Barter and his family after claiming his first European Tour win at the Betfred British Masters

Richard Bland was pleased to finally prove himself on the golf course at the Betfred British Masters as he claimed his first European Tour victory at the 478th attempt.

A par at the first extra hole at The Belfry enabled the 48-year-old Englishman to edge out 24-year-old Italian Guido Migliozzi after the pair had finished locked together on 13 under par after the final round.

“It’s probably going to take a few days to sink in,” said Bland, who carded a six-under 66 to come through the field after starting the day three shots off the pace.

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Nick Dougherty and Wayne Riley review Bland’s final round at the British Masters as he claimed his first European Tour victory at the 478th attempt
Nick Dougherty and Wayne Riley review Bland’s final round at the British Masters as he claimed his first European Tour victory at the 478th attempt

“It’s what I’ve worked for for 20 years. That’s what we all work for, to win out here and try and prove yourself. I’ve had a few close calls and I assume someone up there was looking down on me quite favourably today. It was just my day.

“Finally I can go off that list of most starts without a win. A big incentive for me was that I wanted to get to 500 events, this will allow me to do that, which I’ll be hugely proud of. To play 500 events out here is a pretty good career.”

After finally ending his drought, Bland is now hoping he can add further victories to his name and he is also set to qualify for next month’s US Open at Torrey Pines through a three-event mini order of merit which started this week.

“When I put my mind to something, I can just get my head down and go and do it. That’s what I did,” he added.

“I know I’ve got to go to places I don’t want to go to, but I knew there was unfinished business out here. I’m just pleased that I proved myself – that I can do. Whether I get to do it again, I hope so.

Bland is greeted by tournament host Danny Willett after winning the Betfred British Masters
Bland is greeted by tournament host Danny Willett after winning the Betfred British Masters

“I loved it out there today, down the stretch. I had a one-shot lead with five or six to go and I hit the shots when I needed to. That’s a huge confidence booster going forwards. Who knows? I hope there may be another one. It might be like buses, two come along in quick succession. Right now, I’m really pleased I’ve got my hands on this one.

“I’d love to go to Torrey Pines. I haven’t really looked at the process of what gets into the US Open but I’m sure I’ve got a pretty good chance now. I was fortunate to have played one US Open at Bethpage in 2009 which was an unbelievable experience.

“To go and play Torrey Pines, an iconic US Open venue would be fantastic and if I am fortunate enough to get a pot then I’ll be going over there with bells on so I’d be looking forward to it.”

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Bland, who lost his card in 2018 only to go back to the Challenge Tour and become the oldest-ever graduate at the age of 46, is coached by Sky Sports’ Tim Barter.

“To have Tim here on the 18th green with me makes it extra special,” he said. “We’ve been together for 20 years. He’s a really close friend of mine, regardless of him being my coach.

“This is as much his as it is mine, with the work we’ve put in. He’s always believed in me more than I’ve believed in myself, he’s always been telling me that. It’s paid off.”

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Source : Sky Sports