Daniel Gavins came from seven shots back to claim a maiden European Tour victory in the most dramatic fashion at the ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by Modest! Golf Management.
The Englishman teed off more than an hour before the final group hit their first shots of the final round at Galgorm, but a stunning short game performance set him on the road to victory.
A hole out from the bunker at the fifth was followed by a monster putt at the sixth which found the cup, and he produced similar magic at the 16th by converting another huge putt across the green.
Two more birdies in a bogey-free 65 earned the 30-year-old a one-stroke win with a 13 under total – a career-changing victory for a player who came into the week on a Challenge Tour category and targeting graduation to the European Tour through the top 20 of the Road to Mallorca at the end of the 2021 season.
David Horsey finished one shot back on 12 under par after a disappointing bogey finish and a two over par 72, while third round leader Jordan Smith was one of four players who shared third place on 11 under.
In the women’s event, Pajaree Anannarukarn of Thailand overcame the USA’s Emma Talley in a two-hole play-off, claiming her first LPGA Tour ttle in the process.
Earlier in the day, Brendan Lawlor earned a second successive victory on the EDGA European Tour, winning the ISPS HANDA World Disablility Invitational – a victory which is set to move the Irishman to the top of the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) for the first time in his career.
Daniel Gavins: “It just feels amazing. I don’t think it’s going to sink in for a while. Yeah, it’s just a dream come true really. To be honest I thought I was going to be a few shots short of winning, so to win, it’s just — I just can’t really believe it. I thought I was going to finish maybe second or third looking at the leaderboard going down the last, but yeah. Must be my week.
“I went into today playing each hole as it came and just tried to stay patient out there. A few birdies led to a few more, and yeah, here we are
“t started on the par-three when I holed a bunker shot for the birdie. It was a pretty tough bunker shot. I managed to hole that. Then the next hole rolled in like a 70-foot putt for birdie, which was a pretty tough hole. And then same on 13 and same on 16, I’ve rolled in 60 feet again on both of those holes, which was a bit of luck in there. But it’s nbelievable..
David Horsey: “I actually felt quite calm weirdly, and in the past my heart probably would have been in my mouth, and I would have felt terrible coming down those last few holes. I kept myself calm. I knew what I was trying to do. I knew if I could trust it enough that it would hold up under pressure, and unfortunately it just didn’t quite happen.
“My goal really now is to try and become more consistent. That’s why I made these changes, and I know my game. I’ll get up to Scotland on Tuesday and I’ll be the same player. I’ve just got to keep holing the putts and try and trust it a little bit more.”