By Matt Smith
American Sean Crocker had to be at his best and secure a maiden DP World Tour and edge Eddie Pepperell for a wire-to-wire victory in the 2022 Hero Open at Fairmont St Andrews.

Crocker began the day with a two-shot lead but was joined at the summit early on as the chasing pack closed in on him at Fairmont St Andrews.

He led by one at the turn before starting the back nine with three birdies in four holes to reach 22-under par and stretch his advantage back to two.

But with Englishman Pepperell in the clubhouse on 21-under, Crocker endured a nervy finish as he parred his way home to sign for a closing 68 to win by a single shot.

Crocker, who started the 2022 season with eight missed cuts and a retirement in his first nine events, was visibly relieved as he holed his four-foot par putt at the last to secure the trophy.

Pepperell finished alone in second one shot behind Crocker after firing a brilliant Sunday 65, while home favourite David Law and Dubai-based Spaniard Adrian Otaegui shared third place on 19-under.

Swede Jens Dantorp and Denmark’s Oliver Hundebøll were a shot further back, while another Dane in Soren Kjeldsen, Wilco Nienaber of South Africa and Englishman Callum Shinkwin rounded out the top 10 at 17-under.

“Winning a golf tournament is not easy,” said Crocker. “Eddie did not make that easy for me either.

“After the three putt par on 15 I thought I still had a little bit of room. They are not easy holes coming down the stretch. Great save on 17. I thought I could then make it pretty easy — it’s a par five coming in, but I don’t think it’s ever easy to make a par to win a golf tournament. That was pretty special.

“I have felt pressure like that before but this is my first pro tournament win. That putt looked like it was 20 feet, the hole looked like it was half an inch wide. Right off the face I knew it was a well-struck putt. As I looked up and I saw it drop, I was just telling myself — don’t start crying.”

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