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Hillier tops Belfry, makes British Open


UNITED KINGDOM — After reaching the turn in 35 courtesy of two birdies and a single bogey on the front nine, European Challenge Tour graduate Daniel 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 ten under par.

With the final group several holes behind him, Hillier had to wait around an hour before finally being able to 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.

Hillier finished with a 66 on the final day for a 278 total and the 547,411 euros top prize. Coming in second two shots behind was Wiebe who got 278,536 euros.

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 agonizingly close to holing his 22-foot eagle putt at the
par-five third but instead had to settle for a tap-in birdie.

The 24-year-old 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.

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