Sean Crocker secured his maiden DP World Tour title after holding off Eddie Pepperell to claim a wire-to-wire victory at the 2022 Hero Open.
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 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 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 Søren Kjeldsen, Wilco Nienaber of South Africa and Englishman Callum Shinkwin rounded out the top ten at 17 under.
Sean Crocker: Winning a golf tournament is not easy. Eddie (Pepperell) 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.
It’s awesome, it just shows that you don’t know what this game will bring you. We go out every day trying our hardest. We can play terrible for a long time and then all of a sudden you have a week like this where every bounce seemed to go my way, putts dropped, I hit the ball beautifully. It makes me appreciate this game I play and what I get to do for a living.
I started my career on this side of the pond on these Tours (DP World Tour and Challenge Tour). This is so special.
I hope I keep putting myself in this position. That door has been locked shut for me for almost five years. To go wire to wire I think I knocked the door clean off its hinges, which is nice.
Eddie Pepperell: I’m proud, it was pretty flawless until the ninth. Felt far from lawless for a few holes there and had to really think about it and figure it out. There were some tough tee shots. I just trusted my routines, hit the fairways and felt like I played great.
Trusted myself, haven’t been in this position for a long time. I’ve always felt that when you’re in this position it’s a case of trusting your body, if it’s responding well, you just need to allow it to do what it has been doing. That was the hardest part about today but I felt like I did a good job.
When I birdied 12 and hit a good shot into 13 I told myself to try to remember how I used to think when I was I that position – believing that I was the best player here or if I was to play my best then I could win the tournament and keep hitting good shot after good shot.
That was my thought process. I haven’t been the best player out here for a long time, so it was hard to believe in myself. But I hit a lot of good shots.