Richard Bland has been playing golf on and off the European Tour since 2002 and has never won a tournament. Today, on his 478th attempt, he won the Betfred British Masters in one of golf’s greatest ever fairytales.
The Englishman became the oldest first-time winner on the Tour, at the age of 48 years and 101 days, after he emerged victorious in a sudden-death play-off with Italian Guido Migliozzi at The Belfry.
Migliozzi, who is half Bland’s age at 24, tied with the veteran after 72 holes on 13-under but three-putted the first play-off hole to give Bland the win on the 18th.
Adrian Meronk and Mikko Korhonen both missed birdie putts at the last that would have seen them join the play-off, but instead, they had to settle for a share of third with England’s Dave Coupland after rounds of 69 and 67 respectively.
Eddie Pepperell had taken a one-shot lead into the final round but the 2018 champion could only manage a closing 73 and ended up tied at 11th with tournament host Danny Willett.
Sponsors Betfred promised to donate £1,000 for every birdie Willett putted across the tournament and the Yorkshireman duly delivered 19, meaning that £19,000 will be heading to Prostate Cancer UK.
Robert MacIntyre, the pre-tournament favourite, held a share of the lead but the world number 45 eventually signed for a 71 to finish joint eighth.
For Bland though, the long wait is finally over. Speaking after his historic win, the emotional Burton-born golfer said, “My game had been trending in the right way and I'd worked really hard this year."
"I just drove the ball so well this week. I've gone back to my old driver."