September 27, 2021

Gavins snatches first European Tour title

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World No 453 Daniel Gavins came back from seven behind on the final day to see off David Horsey, Jordan Smith and Daniel Hillier to win the ISPS Handa World Invitational in Northern Ireland

By Ali Stafford

Last Updated: 01/08/21 6:19pm

Daniel Gavins is the latest first-time winner on the European Tour Daniel Gavins is the latest first-time winner on the European Tour

Daniel Gavins is the latest first-time winner on the European Tour

Daniel Gavins produced a stunning final-round comeback to snatch an unlikely victory and maiden European Tour title at the ISPS Handa World Invitational.

Gavins – who usually plays on the Challenge Tour – overturned a seven-shot deficit on the final day, carding five birdies a bogey-free 65 at Galgorm Castle to set the clubhouse target at 13 under.

The world No 453 finished over an hour before the final group and left with a nervous wait to see whether his total would be enough, with his victory confirmed when Jordan Smith, David Horsey and Daniel Hillier all dropped shots along the closing stretch.

David Horsey fell short in his bid to end a six-year winless run on the European Tour David Horsey fell short in his bid to end a six-year winless run on the European Tour

David Horsey fell short in his bid to end a six-year winless run on the European Tour

“I can’t believe it!” Gavins said. “I just tried to shoot as low as I could today. Seven behind, I didn’t really think I was in with a chance of winning. I think it will take a while to sink in – what an amazing day!”

Gavins – who had never previously posted a top-10 finish on the European Tour – birdied the second and followed a hole-out from the bunker at the sand at the fifth by birdieing the sixth, before holing monster putts at the 13th and 16th on his way to a setting a winning score.

Daniel Gavins reflects on overturning a seven-shot deficit on the final day to claim a maiden European Tour title at the ISPS Handa World Invitational

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Daniel Gavins reflects on overturning a seven-shot deficit on the final day to claim a maiden European Tour title at the ISPS Handa World Invitational

Daniel Gavins reflects on overturning a seven-shot deficit on the final day to claim a maiden European Tour title at the ISPS Handa World Invitational

Overnight leader Smith doubled his advantage with two birdies over his opening four holes, only to follow a bogey at the fifth by racking up a triple-bogey seven at the par-four next after needing two attempts from the base of a tree.

Smith birdied the eighth but double-bogeyed the 11th after finding water off the tee and saw his hopes ended with another blemish at the 15th, while Horsey dropped three shots in a three-hole stretch from the 11th and then lost his ball off the final tee to finish with a bogey.

Jordan Smith carded a four-over 74 during the final round in Northern Ireland Jordan Smith carded a four-over 74 during the final round in Northern Ireland

Jordan Smith carded a four-over 74 during the final round in Northern Ireland

Horsey finished in solo second on 12 under ahead of Alejandro Canizares, Masahiro Kawamuro, Smith and Hillier – who held a share of the lead until back-to-back bogeys from the 16th – while Justin Harding was among the group of four players in tied-seventh.

More to follow…