Pepperell hopes home comforts help British Masters defense

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Pepperell hopes home comforts help British Masters defense

Euro Tour

Pepperell hopes home comforts help British Masters defense

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HILLSIDE, England – Home comforts might just help Eddie Pepperell do something he’s yet to do: successfully defend a title.

The Englishman is glad to be back on home soil after five tournaments in the United States. Pepperell, who won last year’s British Masters at Walton Heath, had a successful time during his PGA Tour stint. He placed third in The Players Championship, made the cut on his Masters debut and finished 16th in the RCB Heritage. However, the two-time European Tour winner was glad to get back to his home in Abingdon, in rural Oxfordshire.

“When I said I enjoyed every second of it in America, it was probably true,” Pepperell said. “I had a good experience to be out there to be fair, and enjoyed that part of it, but I was more than ready to get home.

“The one thing I realised when I spend a lot of time over there is how much I love Europe. The events were brilliant, and I really enjoyed testing myself in that environment on those courses. I found it challenging, and that was nice. I felt like I was ready for that at this point in my career. So there’s certain aspects of it that I really loved and I felt were valuable for my game. But, you know, I do like Oxfordshire, so it was just nice to come home and eat proper veg and proper meat and just the things that we have over here that maybe we don’t have over there.”

Last year’s British Masters win was a key part of a breakthrough year for Pepperell. Not only did he win at Walton Heath, he also won the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Those wins helped Pepperell to 33rd on the Official World Golf Ranking. He’s now 37th, which means he now gets into all the majors, the WGC events and Rolex Series events. Not bad for a guy who lost his card after finishing 113th on the 2016 European Tour money list and had to visit the Qualifying School to regain it.

The 28-year-old sank to world number 523rd while in the depths of his despair. So it’s refreshing to see one of Europe’s more engaging characters getting the rewards his talents deserve. One of those rewards could be a third European Tour title in this week’s $3.4 million Betfred British Masters at Hillside Golf Club.

“I feel like I’m close,” Pepperell said. “It certainly feels closer than it did on the Wednesday of British Masters last year. That was terrible that day. The way things can change, I never like to feel too confident on a Wednesday because it doesn’t last.

“I don’t know what to expect from my game. I know there’s a bit of weakness at the moment in there somewhere, but I feel like around this course with the conditions, I can skirt my way around that and manage to shoot four good scores. This week I’m quietly confident I guess you could say.”

A successful defense of this title would be the perfect homecoming ahead of next week’s PGA Championship, where hopefully he can get a decent bit of American meat and veg.

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