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GOLF: Pepperell thanks members after debut win
9:50am Thursday 17th May 2012 in Golf
EDDIE Pepperell was quick to thank the members at Frilford Heath and Drayton Park after sealing a first professional win on Sunday.
The 21-year-old held his nerve to beat Denmark’s Jeppe Huldahl on a play-off to win the ALLIANZ Open Côtes d’Armor Bretagne on the European Challenge Tour.
It provided a huge boost to the talented youngster’s career, allowing him access to the rest of the Challenge Tour’s calendar this year.
The winners’ cheque of just over £20,000 also catapulted the Abingdon golfer to eighth in the money list.
If he could stay in the top 20 by the end of the season it would earn a card on the elite European Tour next season.
Pepperell’s hopes of taking the title had appeared remote earlier in the final round, when he bogeyed two of his first five holes to fall back to one over par for the tournament.
But four birdies in seven holes turned his fortunes around to set the clubhouse lead at three-under-par.
Huldahl picked up shots on the final two holes to earn a play-off, but a wayward tee shot at the first extra hole set him up for a bogey, while Pepperell calmly made par to take the title.
In his moment of glory in northern France, Pepperell’s thoughts were close to home and he made sure to give credit to Drayton Park, the club he used to represent, and Frilford, to whom he is now attached.
He said: “Winning your first tournament as a pro is always special. But to do it after a play-off and with a back nine like that makes it even more special.
“I’m just so pleased, not only for myself, but for all the members back at Frilford Heath and Drayton Park who have supported me.
“I can’t wait for the rest of the season now.”
He added: “Being able to plan my schedule is priceless, because before this week I didn’t know where I’d be playing next.
“So to be able to pick and choose which tournaments I play in is a huge bonus.
“I’m just relieved more than anything.”
Pepperell’s next opportunity to play on the Challenge Tour comes next Thursday, at the Telenet Trophy in Belgium.
Final scores: 1 E Pepperell 67, 71, 71, 68=277 (play-off), 2 J Huldahl 277, 3 P Baker 279.
CRAIG Hinton scored the winning point as England beat France at Rochester & Cobham Park in Kent.
The amateur, who is attached to the Oxfordshire, led Nicolas Manifacier for most of the round and put the result beyond doubt at the penultimate hole to claim a 2&1 win.
The point confirmed England’s victory and they went on to complete a 15-9 triumph, winning back the title they lost two years ago at Chantilly.