Shane Lowry increases Race to Dubai lead as Perez wins Dunhill

Offalyman leads the order of merit standings ahead of Jon Rahm with eight events to go

Shane Lowry tees off on the 18th hole. Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Shane Lowry tees off on the 18th hole. Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

 

Shane Lowry increased his lead over Jon Rahm at the top of the Race to Dubai to 97.2 points after a Sunday 68 at the Alfred Dunhill Links left him tied for 15th with eight tournaments to go although, after defending his title at the Spanish Open next week, Rahm does not plan to play another European Tour event until the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in November.

In the end, Victor Perez secured his maiden European Tour title in his rookie season after edging a thrilling final-round battle with Matthew Southgate to win by one shot.

The 27-year-old posted a closing 70 at the Old Course at St Andrews on Sunday to reach 22 under par and become the first Frenchman to win the tournament.

England’s Southgate was alone in second a shot further back after he carded two bogeys on the back nine and failed to make the birdie he needed at the last to force a play-off.

Another Englishman Paul Waring and Swede Joakim Lagergren finished in a tie for third on 20 under, while England’s Jordan Smith, Tommy Fleetwood, Tom Lewis and Matthew Jordan were in the group in a share of fifth place alongside Jeunghun Wang.

Rory McIlroy and his father Gerry were pipped to the team competition by Tommy Fleetwood and Ogden Phipps after a neck and neck battle down the stretch. In the individual tournament McIlroy finished in a tie for 26th at 15 under after a closing 67 while Pádraig Harrington signed off at the same mark after a 70.

Winner Perez is no stranger to links golf in Scotland, having spent the last 18 months living up the road in Dundee, where his girlfriend attends dental school.

And he made the most of home comforts on Sunday, carding three birdies and a solitary bogey to win on his 29th European Tour appearance.

Two-time Challenge Tour winner Perez said: “Obviously I’m very pleased.

“There are so many things that need to come together to win a golf tournament. There are so many great players that are still striving for their first win, and obviously it happened for me in my first year.

“I’m quite fortunate to be honest. Waking up this morning, you go out and you try to play as well as you can, but you don’t know if somebody can go and shoot eight under — and then you lose by six and you felt like you did your job but you might be miles away.

“Obviously I felt like I had a solid day. I did my job and it was good enough, and next thing you know, you’re a winner on the European Tour. You have to take it how it comes and it’s a great win for me.”

Perez began the day alongside Southgate at the top of the leaderboard but found himself in possession of the outright lead when his playing partner dropped a shot at the first.

His first birdie of the day came at the fifth when he got up and down from the rough to the right of the green.

Victor Perez of France is sprayed with a bottle of champagne by Raphael Jacquelin following his victory at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at The Old Course. Photo: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Victor Perez of France is sprayed with a bottle of champagne by Raphael Jacquelin following his victory at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at The Old Course. Photo: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Southgate leapfrogged him to the summit after reeling off a hat-trick of gains from the fifth but a six-foot birdie at the short eighth pulled Perez level with the Englishman.

Perez fell off the top of the leaderboard again when Southgate curled in from 12 feet for a birdie at the ninth to get to 23 under.

And his deficit was extended to two strokes when Perez made a bogey at the short 11th.

But a two-shot swing at the par-five 14th saw Perez join playing partner Southgate at the top once more as he tapped in his close-range birdie putt to get to 22 under, while a poor pitch shot cost Southgate a shot and the outright lead.

Perez, whose caddie is McIlroy’s former bagman JP Fitzgerald, took a one-shot lead to the 18th tee after Southgate bogeyed the 17th, and when they both made pars at the last, Perez secured the title.

Southgate said: “It’s been a horrible season for me and this has sorted that right out and got us right back to the Race to Dubai and that’s the goal for me, really.

“I think I’ve proven to the world this week that when I do switch it on, I can mix it with the best and I’ve beaten a hell of a lot of good players this week.”

Collated final round scores & Totals in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, Stp Andrews, Carnoustie & Kingsbarns, Scotland (British unless stated, par 72):

266 Victor Perez (Fra) 64 68 64 70

267 Matthew Southgate 65 66 65 71

268 Paul Waring 65 68 65 70, Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 69 62 68 69

269 Matthew Jordan 66 64 71 68, Tommy Fleetwood 66 69 70 64, Jeunghun Wang (Kor) 70 65 66 68, Tom Lewis 70 70 65 64, Jordan Smith 64 68 68 69

270 Tony Finau (USA) 67 66 66 71, Richie Ramsay 65 67 70 68, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 68 65 67 70, Callum Shinkwin 72 68 63 67, Luke Donald 68 68 64 70

271 Matt Wallace 70 68 68 65, Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 68 65 72 66, Alex Noren (Swe) 69 66 68 68, Harry Hall 70 68 68 65, Shane Lowry (Irl) 73 66 64 68, Tyrrell Hatton 66 68 67 70, Eddie Pepperell 70 66 68 67, Russell Knox 66 66 70 69

272 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 67 68 66 71, Haotong Li (Chn) 71 68 64 69, Thomas Detry (Bel) 72 69 63 68

273 Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 68 67 70 68, Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 70 66 70 67, Robert Macintyre 71 66 66 70, Zander Lombard (Rsa) 67 68 71 67, Calum Hill 66 65 70 72, Danny Willett 72 66 66 69, Matthew Fitzpatrick 69 67 67 70, Pádraig Harrington (Irl) 69 68 66 70

274 Robert Karlsson (Swe) 67 70 67 70, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 73 68 66 67, Sam Horsfield 72 67 68 67, Justin Rose 68 64 70 72, Sebastian Soderberg (Swe) 71 64 69 70, Oliver Wilson 72 67 68 67

275 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 66 70 70 69, Ricardo Gouveia (Por) 70 67 67 71, Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 65 68 74 68, Joost Luiten (Ned) 69 67 71 68, John Catlin (USA) 72 65 69 69, Oliver Fisher 68 69 70 68

276 Wil Besseling (Ned) 68 67 71 70, Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 68 71 68 69, Fabrizio Zanotti (Pry) 66 71 70 69, David Horsey 68 67 72 69, Scott Jamieson 69 66 72 69, Benjamin Herbert 73 64 67 72

277 Johannes Veerman (USA) 72 63 70 72, Lee Slattery 68 66 72 71

278 Ryan Fox (Nzl) 64 68 73 73, Aaron Rai 68 66 69 75

281 Julien Guerrier (Fra) 69 69 69 74, Grant Forrest 72 70 65 74

282 Rikard Karlberg (Swe) 69 68 68 77, Alvaro Quiros (Spa) 70 70 66 76

284 Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 69 69 67 79

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