Dan Brown cracks the code to win at Galgorm

Dan Brown completed a stunning wire-to-wire success at the DP World Tour’s ISPS HANDA World Invitational to claim his maiden professional win.

The Englishman, who plays out of Romanby Golf & Country Club, saw his six-shot overnight advantage shaved only slightly as he posted a one under par-round of 69 at Galgorm to reach 15 under-par and secure a five-stroke victory over former Yorkshire teammate Alex Fitzpatrick.

The 28-year-old, who earned his playing privileges via the DP World Tour Qualifying School in 2022, started with a bogey for the second day in succession before another dropped shot at the third.

He returned to level terms with back-to-back birdies at the fifth and sixth, before entering red numbers for the first time at the par five 10th. Then came a real test of his mettle as he dropped a shot at each of the next three holes.

However, the former EuroPro Tour and Challenge Tour player showed the prowess which had seen him post rounds of 64, 66 and 67 over the first three days as he birdied the next two holes and made par at 17 to ensure he could enjoy the walk up 18 with a five-stroke advantage.

“I could never have dreamed this up in the past, however many years or whatever it is. I don’t think it’s sunk in but, yeah, amazing,” said Dan after sealing victory.

“I didn’t really putt great yesterday. It was a bit nervy, struggling to get the pace and it was kind of similar again today. Once I got down the closing stretch, I said to my caddie, just make sure your pace is good on each putt. I almost forgot about line and all that kind of thing. I was just trying to make sure that it was a decent pace.

“I think America was a bit of a turning point. That just gave me a lot of confidence that I know I can do it. I sewed my card up there pretty much. So this week and the rest of the year was just try to enjoy it a bit more and freewheel.

“She’s blubbering down the phone (his mum). I’m over the moon, but it probably hasn’t sunk in yet. I don’t know. I almost still feel like someone’s going to crop up and say there’s another day left or something. But yeah, crazy.

“Alex was playing really well. Probably played considerably better than I did. I just managed to hit some good shots after the blip on 11, 12, 13. Then I holed a couple of really nice putts and then I suppose once I hit that iron shot into 17, that was kind of fun. I thought this should be it if I don’t do anything stupid, this should be over here.

“I had his card. I was marking his card, so I knew exactly what he was doing. The leaderboard, every time I looked over my shoulder, the leaderboard was right next to me. So you can’t get away from it. As much as people say that they don’t watch leaderboards, they definitely do. It was just a matter of just trying to compose myself again after 11, 12 and 13. I enjoyed the walk down 18 as well, which is nice because it’s probably quite rare to enjoy that much of a lead walking down the last.”

Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick recorded a career-best finish as Eddie Pepperell secured his highest finish on the 2023 Race to Dubai as he finished third on seven under-par. John Parry shared fourth place with South Africa’s Wilco Nienaber, Spaniard Adrian Otaegui, Scotland’s Connor Syme and Dane Marcus Helligkilde on five under-par.

The event was tri-sanctioned by the DP World Tour, Ladies European Tour and LPGA Tour, with men’s and women’s tournaments played on the same courses at the same time for two equal prize funds of $1.5million. America’s Alexa Pano made it a birthday to remember as she won her first LPGA title by defeating Gabriella Cowley and Esther Henseleit in a playoff on the day she turned 19, becoming the LPGA’s youngest winner of the season.