BMW PGA win would 'be everything' for 45-year-old journeyman

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BMW PGA win would 'be everything' for 45-year-old journeyman

Euro Tour

BMW PGA win would 'be everything' for 45-year-old journeyman

VIRGINIA WATER, England – Richard Bland’s 67 in the $7 million BMW PGA Championship has put him in contention for his first European Tour win after many barren years, but the 45-year-old Englishman is just happy to have an important fan watching him this week. 

Brother Heath is here to see him play despite a life-threatening illness at the end of last year that meant he was placed in a coma for a month.

“It’s going to take some more time but he’s on the road to recovery,” Bland said. “We were a close family anyway but this has brought us even closer. 

“It’s great to see him walking around. 

“He thought he had the flu and was just feeling a bit rough, but it turned out he had a virus which stopped his heart, and they had to put him in an induced coma. It knocked us for six, especially as it was over Christmas.”

No wonder Bland’s struggled this year. He’s made just two of 10 cuts and is 248th on the European money list with just over $13,500 in earnings.

“I’m certainly not going to make excuses for my golf but it was not easy, especially at the start of the year. It certainly puts things into perspective.”

The Southampton, England native epitomizes the term” journeyman” after eight trips to the Qualifying School between 1993 and 2011. He’s had to use the Challenge Tour on three occasions to get back to the main circuit.

Bland finished second in last year’s BMW International Open, a result that ensured he kept his card for this year. His best season on tour is 28th on the money list in 2016, the only time he’s finished inside the top 60. He was fifth in this championship in 2006. 

Playing in his 432nd European Tour event, Bland returned his lowest score over the Wentworth course with six birdies and just one dropped shot. 

“It would be everything to get a win,” Bland said. “If I hang up my boots at the end of my career without one you are always going to look at it as a bit of a disappointment.”

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