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The Telegraph

Golfing world praises Richard Bland’s maiden win at 478th attempt

One day on and still Richard Bland’s maiden victory at the 478th attempt continued to provoke emotional praise, with American Fred Couples joining the top names of Europe golf in sending his congratulations to the Staffordshire veteran. As the field assembled here in South Carolina for this week’s 103rd USPGA Championship, nobody expected the chatter to concern the final round of the Betfred British Masters at the Belfry on Saturday. But Bland’s play-off victory over Italian Guido Migliozzi plainly touched so many. At 48, Bland became the oldest first-time winner on the European Tour. Migliozzi, 24, was not even born when Bland became a first professional in 1996, a fact that underlined his extraordinary perseverance to achieve his dream. He was forced to returned to qualifying school on umpteen occasions but refused to walk away, even as he hit rock bottom when losing his card yet again three years ago. Here was a lesson in never giving up. “I have seen something that has inspired me and reminded me of why golf is the greatest game,” Couples, the former world No 1, tweeted. “Richard Bland who hadn’t won in his previous 477 professional starts wins the #britishmasters in a playoff on the @europeantour. Congrats @blandy73 on the first and wishing you many more!”

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