Matthew Southgate slips to give Victor Perez Alfred Dunhill Links win

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Matthew Southgate slips to give Victor Perez Alfred Dunhill Links win

Euro Tour

Matthew Southgate slips to give Victor Perez Alfred Dunhill Links win

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England’s Matthew Southgate talked about the importance of keeping himself in check to win the $5 million Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. He didn’t, and that allowed France’s Victor Perez to claim his first European Tour title.

Southgate was also chasing his maiden European Tour victory. He seemed on course for that when he stood on the 14th tee of the Old Course at St Andrews on 23 under par with a two-shot lead after starting the day tied with Perez.

The Englishman nearly reached the par-5 14th in two. He came up just short and looked odds on to birdie the hole. However, he duffed his chip shot and then missed a six-foot par putt. Perez had no problems on the hole. He two putted from just off the green for birdie to move to the 15th hole tied for the lead.

SCORES: Alfred Dunhill Links

Matthew Southgate waves to fans on the 18th hole on the final round of the 2019 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at The Old Course on Sept. 29, 2019 in St Andrews. Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Another slip proved costly for Southgate, this time at the 17th. After an excellent iron shot from the left rough found the green of arguably the hardest par-4 in golf, Southgate three-putted the hole to head down the last a shot behind Perez.

A regulation par on the Old Course’s Home hole was enough to give Perez his first European Tour victory, France’s first win on the 2018/19 circuit. Fellow French players doused Perez with champagne on the 18th green to celebrate the win.

“The emotions were really high all day,” said Perez, who actually resides in nearby Dundee. “It was really cold, windy and a long day out there. I felt like I was able to battle. It wasn’t easy. Matt played amazing. I was expecting some of the guys to charge, and we were fortunate it was kind of a one-on-one battle on the back nine.

“That birdie on 14 really pulled me back and I just held strong until the end,” Perez said.

Perez benefited from having a familiar face on his bag. Rory McIlroy’s old caddie JP Fitzgerald guided the 27-year-old to victory.

“JP knows the three courses like the back of his pocket so it was a huge advantage for me to know where to hit and to really trust him. He said from the get-go ‘My job is to tell you where to hit it and your job is to execute,’ and I was able to do that really well.”

Perez moves from 76th on the Race to Dubai into the top 20. Southgate began the week 104th and has done enough by finishing second to guarantee full playing rights for next year. However, he’ll rue missing out on his first win because of two costly errors.

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