Wednesday, 05 December 2018
Victor Perez on Day Three at the Foshan Open (Richard Castka/sportpixgolf.com) ()
Victor Perez on Day Three at the Foshan Open (Richard Castka/sportpixgolf.com) ()

After finishing the year as Road to Ras Al Khaimah Number Three and missing out on a chance to win the overall points race by a single shot, it would be easy to overlook how hard Victor Perez fought to earn his European Tour card.

His not-successful-enough 2017 campaign featured a win but ultimately saw his bid for promotion to Europe’s top circuit fall short with an 18th place finish in the Rankings and so the Frenchman returned to the Challenge Tour in 2018 with unfinished business.

The new year began rather unceremoniously with three missed cuts in his first six events, but eyeing entry into the mid-season Rolex Trophy, which is restricted to the top 45 players on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah, he began to round into form.

With his back against the wall, Perez rose to the occasion. A tied fourth place showing the week before the Rolex Trophy got him into the limited-field event and for the rest of the year, all eight events, he did not finish outside the top 15.

The remarkable streak does not tell the full story though. At the Cordon Golf Open, the University of New Mexico graduate birdied his final two holes just to make the cut, a feat he accomplished again in his very next start at the Kazakhstan Open where he birdied his final four holes to see the weekend. Strong closing rounds earned him tied 11th and tied 14th place showings in each event respectively, as his momentum continued to build.

Still outside the coveted top 15, the 26 year old came alive in the final three tournaments of the year, proving once again his ability to play his best golf when backed into a corner.

A seventh place finish at the Hainan Open put him in with a chance of graduating to the European Tour, before he reached the summit in Foshan the next week.

In keeping with the theme of his season, Perez produced the goods when he needed it the most. On the 72nd hole of the Foshan Open, Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre holed an 80-foot eagle putt to take the lead, which sent roars throughout Foshan Golf Club.

The eventual winner responded in kind however, and sank a 35-foot birdie putt of his own to force a play-off, which he won after a sensational four iron approach.

With his European Tour card locked up, Perez nearly rose to the top Road to Ras Al Khaimah Rankings, but happily accepted his second place finish at the Grand Final and graduation to the European Tour.

In his first two events as a European Tour Member, he has kept his top 15 streak alive with a tied third place finish at the season-opening Honma Hong Kong Open presented by Amundi, along with a share of 14th at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Anahita.

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