Richard Bland finally won a European Tour title at the 478th attempt as the 48-year-old saw decades of persistence pay off at the British Masters.

The Englishman first appeared on the circuit in 1998 and had three runner-up finishes and a pair of third places to his name across his career before this week, but the first win had proven elusive.

However, he put that right on Saturday at The Belfry, a closing 66 taking him to 13 under par before Bland held his nerve in a play-off to deny Italian Guido Migliozzi.

Bland made birdie at the 18th with a putt from almost 30 feet for a six-under 66 to set the clubhouse target, but Migliozzi joined him on that mark by picking up shots at the 15th and 16th holes.

It would have been a nervy wait for Bland as Migliozzi targeted the birdie in the closing two holes that would have brought him the title, but the 24-year-old could not make it happen as he settled for a 68, triggering the play-off.

When Migliozzi missed from around 10 feet for par at the first extra hole - the 18th - Bland had the chance to slot the winning putt from close range, and he made no mistake.

"I've done it," said an emotional Bland on Sky Sports. "My game had been trending in the right way and I'd worked really hard, as you know we've worked so hard on the wedges."

Interviewed by his coach Tim Barter, Bland, who collects €339,278 for his win, said: "I just drove the ball so well this week. I've gone back to my old driver. Round here - especially for me, I'm not the longest on tour - so I've got to hit fairways and I've probably missed single-digit fairways all week.

"If I have missed one it's been by a couple of inches. I came off a pretty decent week last week and a top 10 [last month] in Gran Canaria so I knew my game was in decent shape."

Finland's Mikko Korhonen shared third place on 12 under with England's Dave Coupland and Polish player Adrian Meronk, with another Englishman in Andy Sullivan tied for sixth with South African Dean Burmester.

Tournament host Danny Willett finished at nine under, the same mark as fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell who was the overnight leader but struggled on the final day, a one-over 73 seeing him slide down the leaderboard to a share of 11th place.

Eddie Pepperell holed a long-range birdie at the last hole to take a one-shot lead into Saturday's final round of the British Masters at The Belfry.

The 30-year-old was a shot back from overnight leaders Calum Hill, Robert MacIntyre and Richard Bland at the start of play on Friday, but a second successive 68 moved him into the lead.

Pepperell, who won the tournament in 2018, finished strongly with three birdies in his last seven holes - including an impressive 40-foot putt on the 18th.

That moved the world number 210 to 10 under for the tournament, with six players - including erstwhile leaders Hill and MacIntyre - in a tie for second.

Edoardo Molinari, Adrian Meronk, Dean Burmester and Guido Migliozzi were all also a stroke off the pace in a congested pack that saw the leading 26 players separated by five shots at the 54-hole stage.

"I remember the game feeling easier when I was playing better a few years ago. That's what I'm trying to get back to," Pepperell told Sky Sports.

"There were times out there today I didn't get it and times when I did - that seems to be the way it is.

"I've still got things going on in the swing that I can feel aren't where they once were and can cause me aggro, so the game still feels difficult."

Pre-tournament favourite MacIntyre dropped his only shot of the day on the par-four 10th hole as he failed to recover from a wayward tee shot.

"The way I play golf is aggressive and the course suits me perfectly," MacIntyre said. "When I'm in the fairway, a right-hand side pin is in danger, I just can't leave it alone.

"I didn't drive it my best today but I hit my irons beautifully - they were all over the pin but the putter was cold. It was on fire the day before so hopefully it turns up tomorrow."

Three birdies in his last four holes ensured that MacIntyre's fellow Scotsman Hill also remained firmly in the mix, while Molinari revived his own hopes by posting a 64, the lowest score of the day.

Calum Hill dropped into a share of the lead with Robert MacIntyre and Richard Bland by bogeying the last hole in his second round at the British Masters.

Hill held a one-shot advantage when he teed off at the 18th at The Belfry on Thursday, but moved to back seven under in a disappointing finish.

The 26-year-old Kirkcaldy native was a shot back from overnight leader Matthias Schwab at the start of the day and a two-under 70 kept him firmly in the mix.

Hill birdied the third and chipped in from thick greenside rough to go seven under at the fourth, going out in 35 after a first bogey of the day at the par-four eighth.

Back-to-back gains followed straight after the turn, but he was unable to stay out on his own, bogeying the final hole after reeling off six consecutive pars.

MacIntyre made his move with a brilliant six-under 66, starting with five birdies in a row and picking up another three shots on the back nine after bogeys at the sixth and 12th.

The left-hander, tied for 12th in The Masters last month, had started the tournament with a 71, but surged up the leaderboard with a magnificent second round.

Bland backed up his opening 68 with a three-under 69 and the Englishman is bogey-free through his opening two rounds.

Frenchman Julien Guerrier signed for a sublime 66 to stand well poised just a shot off the leading trio along with Justin Harding and Eddie Pepperell.

Matthias Schwab set the early pace at the British Masters by posting an impressive opening-round 66, with tournament host Danny Willett among the chasing pack at the Belfry.

In-form Schwab, who has three top 10s in his last four events but is yet to win on the European Tour, had seven birdies and just one dropped shot.

The Austrian picked up strokes at 16, 17 and 18 in a fast finish to take the tournament lead at six under par.

Schwab is one shot clear of Calum Hill and two ahead of a nine-man group at four under which includes his compatriot and seven-time European Tour winner Bernd Wiesberger, who had an eagle at 17.

Wiesberger is in contention despite finding the water twice.

Assessing conditions, second-placed Hill said: "You have to drive it quite well, there are a lot of demanding tee shots.

"There are a few bits that you can catch yourself out going to the greens but it is a good test of golf."

Willett is among those at three under, though he will rue a costly bogey at the 18th that stopped him from being two adrift overnight.

Pre-tournament favourite Robert Macintyre is at one under after a quiet first round, while defending champion Renato Paratore is at one over.

Rory McIlroy ended a wait of almost two years to win a title after claiming his third Wells Fargo Championship.

Not since the WGC-HSBC Champions in November 2019 had former world number one McIlroy reigned supreme on the PGA or European Tour.

However, he snapped his drought at Quail Hollow, where the four-time major champion came from behind to triumph by one stroke thanks to his three-under-par 68 on Sunday.

McIlroy, who was two shots off the pace heading into the final day, held off Abraham Ancer at 10 under to add to his 2010 and 2015 triumphs in the tournament.

A flawless front nine set the tone as McIlroy tallied two birdies before gaining further strokes at the 14th and 15th holes in Charlotte.

McIlroy then narrowly avoided a meltdown when he hooked his tee shot on the par-four 18th hole, where he took a drop and managed to get on the green before two-putting to seal his win.

The Northern Irish star captured his 19th PGA Tour victory in his 196th start, with the Wells Fargo Championship the first tournament McIlroy has won more than twice.

Ancer posted a final-round 66 to secure sole possession of second spot, a shot better off than Viktor Hovland (67) and overnight leader Keith Mitchell (72).

Gary Woodland (71) finished three strokes adrift of McIlroy at seven under through 72 holes, while former Masters champion Patrick Reed's 70 saw him share sixth place alongside Matt Wallace (70) and Luke List (72).

U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau's hasty and expensive U-turn over the weekend resulted in a tie for ninth position – six shots off the pace.

DeChambeau flew home to Dallas on Friday after thinking he missed the cut. When the cut changed, the American star boarded another flight back to Charlotte for Saturday's third round.

In the final round, the powerful American carded a second successive three-under-par 68.

Garrick Higgo nailed a hole in one en route to securing a second European Tour victory in the space of 14 days at the Canary Islands Championship on Sunday.

The South African lifted the Gran Canaria Open trophy only a fortnight ago and was in a league of his own with a closing 64 at Golf Costa Adeje, winning by six strokes from Maverick Antcliff with a score of 27 under par.

His card included seven birdies and two bogeys but the crowning moment of another fine success came when he aced the par-three seventh.

Higgo now has three European Tour wins from only 26 events played, making him the fastest South African to three wins (not including majors and world golf championships).

That matches the record of Tiger Woods for fewest number of events required to lift three titles on the European/PGA Tour since 1990.

"Jeez, it's amazing. I'm just really happy and thankful," Higgo said in quotes reported by the European Tour.

"It's not easy to lead, the other day was my first time and in this game anything can happen."

Tapio Pulkkanen was seven shots back in third, while Andrew Johnston was among a cluster of players tied for fourth at 19 under.

Keith Mitchell leads Rory McIlroy by two strokes following three rounds of the Wells Fargo Championship, where Bryson DeChambeau endured a whirlwind 24 hours.

American golfer Mitchell carded a five-under-par 66 to surge to the top of the leaderboard at Quail Hollow on Saturday.

Mitchell, whose solitary PGA Tour title came via the 2019 Honda Classic, was flawless in the penultimate round after holing five birdies without dropping a shot.

But four-time major champion McIlroy is lurking in Charlotte, where the two-time Wells Fargo Championship winner is two shots off the pace.

Former world number one McIlroy, who raced out to the lead, posted a three-under-par 68 to be tied for second position alongside Gary Woodland (70).

McIlroy was also two strokes back at the halfway stage of the tournament on Friday, having made the cut for the first time in two months.

A healthy crowd was in attendance to watch McIlroy lurk heading into the final round and the Northern Irish star – amid the coronavirus pandemic that has impacted attendances – said: "I sort of realised that it's hard for me to bring the best out in myself without that atmosphere that we had today. I'm excited to be in the position I'm in."

U.S. Open champion DeChambeau ended the day eight shots behind Mitchell following his third-round 68.

DeChambeau flew home to Dallas on Friday after thinking he missed the cut. When the cut changed, the American star boarded another flight back to Charlotte.

"It was funny," said DeChambeau. "We did a lot of scrambling last night to get back. One of the scenarios was like turning right back around, but the crew couldn't, you know, refuel and their hours were out. So we had to get a new crew, if anything, and it just didn't work out.

"So we're like, 'Well, let's just go in the morning'. So I left at 02:45am on a flight and I got here at 06:20am Drove 30 minutes to the golf course, put on my clothes in the locker room and headed out to the putting green. I did get a workout last night, though."

DeChambeau has a double-bogey or worse in each of his rounds at this year's Wells Fargo Championship. It is the fifth time in his career that he has recorded at least one double-bogey or worse in each of the first three rounds of a Tour event.

If there ever was a course to get slumping Rory McIlroy back on track, Quail Hollow might be it. 

McIlroy shot a five-under-par 66 Friday at the Wells Fargo Championship to make the cut for the first time in two months and reach four-under for the tournament, two strokes behind leaders Matt Wallace, Gary Woodland and Patrick Rodgers. 

First-round leader Phil Mickelson dropped to a tie for 10th overall after carding a 75 at the Charlotte, North Carolina course. 

Only Roger Sloan (64) went lower than McIlroy in the second round, as the 32-year-old recorded six birdies and just one bogey after shooting 72 in the first round. 

The Northern Irishman recorded his first PGA Tour victory at Quail Hollow in 2010 and won there again in 2015. He lost out to Rickie Fowler in a three-man playoff in 2012. 

McIlroy is playing his first tournament since missing the cut at the Masters and The Players Championship, the latter coming a week after a 10th-place finish at the Arnold Palmer invitational in early March. 

"When you played the way I played sort of through that stretch in March and into April, you're going to feel like you're not as close as you probably are," McIlroy told reporters. 

"But I worked hard after Augusta. I took a week off and reset, which I needed.

"Then I put my head down and worked hard and at least felt better about everything coming in here."

Among the three leaders heading into the weekend, Wallace shot 67 Friday, Rodgers 68 and Woodland 69.

Kramer Hickok is one stroke back at five-under for the tournament, while Scott Piercy, Keith Mitchell, Carlos Ortiz and Scott Stallings are tied with McIlroy at four-under. 

Mickelson and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson are among those at three-under, while 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed sits four back of the leaders. 

Justin Thomas is six back entering the weekend, while 2020 U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and 2020 Open Championship winner Shane Lowry just made the two-over cut. 

Among those who missed the cut were past major champions Fowler, Jason Day, Francesco Molinari and Lucas Glover  in addition to defending champion Max Homa and Jon Rahm.

Rahm had made 22 consecutive cuts, the longest active streak on Tour.

Phil Mickelson knows Quail Hollow as well as any course on the PGA Tour, and his comfort there was clear on Thursday as he earned a two-stroke lead in the opening round of the Wells Fargo Championship. 

Mickelson carded a seven-under-par 64 to set the early pace in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the five-time major champion is looking for his first win in 17 consecutive appearances at the event. 

The 50-year-old has always played well there, though, finishing in the top five in half of his 16 previous starts at the tournament. 

Lee Kyoung-hoon and Keegan Bradley were two shots back after shooting 66s.

Mickelson recorded just one bogey on day one while carding eight birdies, including four of the last five holes. 

He won two Champions Tour events last year in his debut season on that circuit, but has not captured a PGA Tour title since winning at Pebble Beach in February 2019. 

Mickelson's last opening-round lead or co-lead came three weeks prior to that in Palm Springs, but he did not want to put any additional pressure on himself after Thursday's strong start.

"I don't want to jump ahead, I want to play a good round tomorrow," said Mickelson, who recorded his lowest score on Tour since a 63 in the second round of the 2020 Travelers Championship. "I have an opportunity to play a course I love with a great pairing.

"I'm playing well and I just want to kind of not get ahead of myself and go play another fun round."

Mickelson, who entered the week ranked number 115 in the world, has 30 career opening-round leads/co-lads – the second most on Tour since 1992.

American star Justin Thomas closed out the first round five shots off the pace, while U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and 2012 tournament winner Rickie Fowler are a stroke further back.

Former Masters champion Patrick Reed shot a 71 as Xander Schauffele and former world number one Rory McIlroy ended the day one over the card.

McIlroy – winner of the Wells Fargo Championship in 2015 – mixed three bogeys and two birdies on a challenging day for the four-time major champion.

Jon Rahm struggled following his opening-round 76, while defending champion Max Homa's bid for back-to-back titles started with a six-over-par 77.

Rory McIlroy branded plans for a Super Golf League "a money grab" as he underlined his opposition towards any breakaway competition.

A report in the Daily Telegraph this week outlined proposals for the Saudi Arabia-backed event, referred to as the Premier Golf League, with high-profile players said to have been offered hugely lucrative incentives to join.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan addressed players ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship this week, where McIlroy is playing, with a Sky Sports report indicating professionals have been warned they will face immediate expulsion from the Tour should they sign up for closed-shop competition.

European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley announced opposition towards the alternative league "in the strongest possible terms", adding: "Since the launch of our strategic alliance last November, our two organisations have been working together to make global golf less fractured and not create further division, with the interests of all players and fans at the forefront of our thinking."

McIlroy, who said he was first approached about a breakaway format seven years ago, compared the proposals to football's European Super League, plans for which were largely abandoned 48 hours after it was announced due to an outrcry from fans and key figures in the sport.

"Maybe the source of the money has changed or the people that are in charge have changed, but nothing has happened [since 2014]," McIlroy, a four-time major winner, said on Wednesday.

"If you go back to what happened last week in Europe with the European Super League in football, people can see it for what it is, which is a money grab, which is fine if that's what you're playing golf for is to make as much money as possible. Totally fine, then go and do that if that's what makes you happy.

"But I'm playing this game to try to cement my place in history and my legacy and to win major championships and to win the biggest tournaments in the world. I honestly don't think there's a better structure in place in golf, and I don't think there will be.

"You have the strategic partnership as well between Europe and the PGA Tour and that's only going to strengthen the structure of golf going forward as well in terms of scheduling and all sorts of other stuff and working together a little bit more.

"I don't think it was a coincidence that the news came out yesterday just as the PGA Tour was having their annual player meeting and Jay addressing the membership. Yeah, I think you all know my feelings on it and I'm very much against it. I don't see why anyone would be for it."

"You saw what happened last week with the European Super League. The top 12 clubs got together and said 'let's keep more of the money for ourselves', and people didn't like that. It affects competition, it affects the integrity of competition. I just can't see how it works.

"It's a complicated issue, but I just don't see at this point how it can get going. And the possibility that people, if they do go in that direction, can't play in the biggest tournaments in the game?

"The game of golf, whether it's a right thing or a wrong thing, is so about history. We still talk about Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen and Ben Hogan and all those guys because that's what this game is. It's steeped in history and the legacies that those guys have."

Sam Burns earned his maiden PGA Tour title after winning the Valspar Championship by three strokes.

Burns and 2011 US PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley had been level atop the leaderboard through the second and third rounds in Palm Harbor, Florida.

But Burns broke the deadlock with his fellow American on Sunday courtesy of a three-under-par 68 at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club.

Burns mixed six birdies with three bogeys in the final round as the 24-year-old improved to 17 under and became the second youngest winner in Valspar Championship history.

He also became the fifth player to claim his first Tour title at the tournament, with Adam Hadwin the last to do so in 2017.

An even-par 71 saw Bradley drop down into sole possession of second spot – the four-time Tour champion's seventh runner-up finish in 273 starts.

It all turned sour for Bradley on the back nine, where he found water on the par-three 13th hole, leading to a double bogey. Burns birdied the 14th to open up a three-shot advantage and never looked back.

Viktor Hovland (65) and Cameron Tringale (68) finished tied for third – four strokes behind Burns, while American star Justin Thomas (70) earned a share of 13th position, six shots further back.

Two-time defending champion after the 2020 event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Paul Casey's bid for a three-peat ended following his final-round 68, which left him tied for 21st.

World number one Dustin Johnson, meanwhile, closed out the tournament 15 strokes adrift after his two-under-par 69.

Dean Burmester secured a dominant five-stroke victory, his first in four years, after a sublime Sunday at the Tenerife Open.

The South African was without a win worldwide since his breakthrough European Tour triumph at the Tshwane Open in 2017.

But Burmester, who entered the final round one shot off the lead, emphatically put an end to that wait with his first victory outside of Africa.

The 31-year-old saved his best display for Sunday, shooting a bogey-free nine-under 62 to move to 25 under.

His nearest challenger was Nicolai von Dellingshausen at 20 under, albeit only after an eagle at the last moved the German to three under for the day.

Von Dellingshausen had held a share of the lead with Kalle Samooja heading into the final round.

Samooja finished in a tie for third after a 69, joined by Adrian Meronk six strokes back.

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