Golf: Kiwi golfer Daniel Hillier claims maiden European Tour title with victory at British Masters

Kiwi golfer Daniel Hillier has produced a barnstorming finish to claim his maiden World Tour title at the British Masters at the Belfry.

Hillier, who also recorded recent top-five finishes at the KLM Open and BMW International Open, is thrilled to enter the winner's circle.

"I'm over the moon and a bit lost for words," he said. "Those last few holes are going to take a while to process, I think.

"The 15th - that tee-shot's been troubling me all week. It was nice to get one semi in play.

Daniel Hillier celebrates a putt.
Daniel Hillier celebrates a putt. Photo credit: Getty Images

"A bit of an awkward lie for my second shot, but managed to have a good five-wood in there to 40 feet, and then the 17th was a bit lucky. I just carried that trap and managed to make the most of that good break.

"Then, just held on for dear life down the last. I felt pretty good over [the final putt] - I felt as comfortable as you can over a putt of that magnitude and I just had to tell myself to put a good stroke on it."

Hillier, 24, follows in the footsteps of countryman Bob Charles, who won this event in 1972, and he was thrilled to be in such illustrious company.

"That's pretty amazing. Obviously, he's New Zealand's golfing hero, so it's pretty cool to be on the same trophy as him."

After reaching the turn in 35, courtesy of two birdies and a single bogey on the front nine, European Challenge Tour graduate Hillier finished his round with a flourish, going eagle-birdie-eagle from the 15th to open up a two-shot lead.

The New Zealander suffered a late scare, when he cleared the green at the tricky 18th, but he managed to save par there with a nerveless eight-foot putt to finish the tournament on 10 under par.

With the final group several holes behind him, Hillier had to wait around an hour, before he could finally celebrate a stunning two-shot victory.

American Gunner Wiebe and Englishman Oliver Wilson were Hillier's nearest challengers on eight under, with the trio booking their spots at the 151st Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

Englishman Justin Rose, and Scottish pair Calum Hill and Ewen Ferguson were then in a tie for fourth on seven under, one ahead of Dane Niklas Nørgaard.

Starting the day three shots off the lead, Hillier came agonisingly close to holing his 22-foot eagle putt at the par-five third, but instead had to settle for a tap-in birdie.

He gave the shot back, after finding water at the sixth, but did well to limit the damage to just a bogey.

He bounced back with a five-foot birdie on the ninth, before parring each of the next five holes to remain some way off the pace, but that suddenly changed at the long 15th, as Hillier drained his 40-foot eagle effort to jump to seven under par.

He followed that up with a stunning fairway bunker shot on the 16th to set up a close-range birdie, which earned him a share of the lead.

Hillier kept his foot on the gas at the par-five 17th, launching his second shot to six feet, before tapping in the putt for his second eagle of the day.

Heading down the 18th with a two-shot lead, Hillier sent his second shot from the rough over the back of the enormous green - landing his ball alongside the trophy.

Knowing he still had work to do to avoid a big number, the New Zealander played a well-judged third, before saving par from eight feet to give the chasing pack no realistic chance of catching him.

Meanwhile, Kiwi Steve Alker has finished tied for sixth at the US Senior Open, six strokes behind German winner Bernhard Langer. Alex was four over par for the opening round, but rallied to become one of only eight to break par for the tournament, finishing level with South African Retief Goosen and American Dicky Pride.


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