Putting masterclass earns Perez dramatic Dutch Open win

Ronan MacNamara

Victor Perez of France celebrates with the trophy after winning a four hole play-off against Ryan Fox of New Zealand after the final round of the Dutch Open at Bernardus Golf (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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An outstanding putting display helped Victor Perez see off Ryan Fox in a playoff to lift his second DP World Tour title after a thrilling final day at the Dutch Open in Croimvort.

The Dundee resident has also secured his place at the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews as well as moving back into the top-100 on the Official World Golf Rankings.

Perez teed off in a share of the lead but found himself trailing New Zealand’s Fox by three shots with two holes to play, before huge drama unfolded down the closing stretch.

Despite signing for a 68, Fox double-bogeyed the last hole to leave the door ajar for Perez to steal in and force a playoff if not claim the victory in regulation time.

The Frenchman birdied the 17th to move alongside Fox with just the par-5 18th left to play. However, the 29-year-old saw a six-foot birdie putt for the title slip by and he signed for a 69 to remain on thirteen-under.

The playoff was equally as thrilling and Perez showed his mettle with the flat stick, holing from 20-feet to stay alive on the first extra hole and after the pair made par at the second playoff hole, Perez held another lengthy effort to stay alive.

But Perez was far from finished and he saw a 40-footer disappear on the fourth playoff hole to finally edge out Fox and take the crown.

Despite a thrilling performance on the greens, Perez admitted the golfing gods were on his side on Sunday.

“There was a fair amount of fortune, I’ve got to be honest with myself, holing out those long putts in the play-off,” he said.

“I just tried to focus on me all day, that’s all I can do, is try to keep a champion mindset and hit good shot after good shot.

“The chips were going to fall where they were going to fall, it’s almost impossible to predict what is going to happen in golf: guys come out of nowhere and win tournaments and guys take huge leads. You just have to focus on you and not look at the board and I was just fortunate to fall on the right side today.”

Perez saw his Ryder Cup bid fall by the wayside last season as he struggled for form throughout the summer but the towering Frenchman has pedigree with three runner-up finishes in Rolex events and two top-five finishes at World Golf Championships as well as winning the 2019 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Polish starlet Adrian Meronk made a miraculous par from the water hazard on the 8th on his way to finishing third and one shot outside the playoff after a 68 for an eleven-under total alongside German Marcel Schneider.

Sweden’s Sebastian Soderberg and England’s Matt Wallace were level at ten-under-par.

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