Red hot Pepperell triumphs in Brittany

5/13/2012 3:34:10 PM
Eddie Pepperell (pic by Bruno Torrubia) ()
Eddie Pepperell (pic by Bruno Torrubia) ()

Eddie Pepperell overcame Denmark’s Jeppe Huldahl at the first extra hole to claim his debut professional title at the ALLIANZ Open Côtes d’Armor Bretagne.

The Englishman – who had forced the play-off with a quite brilliant back nine at Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André, in the Bretagne region of northern France – took advantage of Huldahl’s wayward tee shot at the first extra hole to claim the €25,600 first prize with a par four. 

Pepperell’s hopes of taking the title had appeared remote earlier in the day, when he bogeyed two of his first five holes to fall back to one over par for the tournament. But the 21 year old from Oxford showed commendable resolve by notching four birdies in his final 12 holes to sign for a round of 68 and set the clubhouse target on three under par.

That mark was subsequently met by Huldahl, whose double bogey seven on the 11th hole had appeared to put paid to his hopes of securing his second Challenge Tour title.

But a dramatic late charge, which included gains at the 13th, 17th and 18th holes, set up a grandstand finish, only for the Dane to bogey the 18th second time around.  

Pepperell’s maiden victory enables him to play a full season on the Challenge Tour this year, having come into this week’s €160,000 event with limited playing opportunities due to his lowly category.  

The winner’s cheque also moved Pepperell up to eighth place in the Challenge Tour Rankings, and gives him a golden opportunity of gaining a European Tour card just one year after joining the professional ranks.

Pepperell, who becomes the fifth English winner of the tournament in six years, said: “It feels like I’ve won twice! To be honest I thought I’d done enough first time round, but credit to Jeppe for taking it to a play-off. I was handed a life-line with Jeppe finding the bushes off the tee, but I told myself not to get defensive because I thought he’d still probably make a five at worst. So I’m just delighted to get the job done, because this win will open up so many doors for me.

“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. 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 Golf Club who have supported me. I can’t wait for the rest of the season now.”

After closing with a level par round of 70, former Ryder Cup player Peter Baker of England finished in third place on one under par.