Bland back for British Masters title defence

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Richard Bland celebrates with Tim Barter (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Richard Bland can’t wait to return to the scene of his maiden DP World Tour win when he defends his Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett title at The Belfry from May 5-8.

The Englishman ended a 22-year wait for his first win as he defeated Italy’s Guido Migliozzi in a play-off at the former Ryder Cup venue on his 478th start, with Bland carding a six under par round of 66 to force extra holes after starting the final round three strokes off the lead.

He became the oldest first-time winner in the Tour’s history at the age of 48 years and 101 days and was also given the honour of striking the first tee shot at The 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s just two months later. Bland is soon set to become the 44th player in the Tour’s history to reach the milestone of 500 appearances, making 496 to date.

With the Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett being played at The Belfry for the second consecutive year, Bland is looking forward to returning to the site of his famous first victory.

“The last few months since the win have been such a whirlwind, but I’m very excited to return to The Belfry to defend my title,” said Bland. “It’s still difficult to put into words how much getting that first win means to me. The main feeling I still have is one of satisfaction.

“I had a text from my coach Tim Barter on the Sunday morning saying that I had to shoot a 66 if I was going to win, so to actually go out and shoot that number and then get it done in the play-off is something that I’ll never forget. To do it at a venue like The Belfry is something that makes it even more special.

“It’s such a significant venue in the history of European golf. There have been some great moments and some great champions there. I’m very proud to have added my name to that list and I can’t wait to get back there in May. It’ll be great to have spectators with us this time round, I think that’s something we’re all looking forward to.”

Since his victory, Bland has shown no signs of slowing down as he achieved five further top five finishes and two top tens during the 2021 season, finishing a career-high 11th on the DP World Tour Rankings.

Last month he came within a whisker of a second DP World Tour title as he finished runner-up at the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic, the second Rolex Series event of the season, losing to rising-star Viktor Hovland in a play-off at Emirates Golf Club. He is currently third on the DP World Tour Rankings after four appearances this season.

The Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett is the first of a four-tournament mini-series, with the top ten aggregate points earners, not otherwise exempt, from the British Masters, Soudal Open, Dutch Open and Porsche European Open earning a place at the U.S. Open at The Country Club, Brookline. Last year’s British Masters runner-up Guido Migliozzi earned a place at Torrey Pines after his performance in the 2021 mini-series and would go on to finish in a share of fourth in just his second Major Championship appearance.

Tickets are available to watch Richard Bland, Danny Willett and a host of DP World Tour stars return to The Belfry for this year’s Betfred British Masters from May 5-8. Click here to purchase tickets.

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