Pepperell wins British Masters – but will he be able to defend his title?

Golf News

Eddie Pepperell won his second European Tour title at Walton Heath, but there is every chance the tournament won't return to the schedule in 2019

What happened at the British Masters?

Nine months later and more than 4,000 miles away, Eddie Pepperell has his second European Tour title.

Having made his breakthrough in Qatar in February, the Englishman enjoyed his first win on home soil by going wire to wire at the Sky Sports British Masters, hosted by Justin Rose at Walton Heath.

Pepperell started the day with a three-shot lead, but got off to a iffy start, hooking a 2-iron into the trees from the opening tee. But he steadied the ship and a final-round 72 was enough to win by two over Alexander Bjork.

A winner already this season in China, Bjork made two birdies in his opening five holes and was always within touching distance of Pepperell – particularly when the leader carded back-to-back bogeys at 15 and 16.

But at 18, a hole he played in 2-under par all week, Pepperell rolled home a clutch par save to secure the victory.

Tournament host Rose signed off a busy week in the capital with a 2-under round of 70 and a salvaged a spot inside the top 10.

Final British Masters leaderboard

Talking Point 

So what’s next for the British Masters?

There is a real possibility it won’t be on the European Tour calendar next year, with chief executive Keith Pelley admitting it’s not on the current schedule, due to be released on Monday, October 22.

The current deal with Sky Sports, which included four editions of the British Masters hosted by, in order, Ian Poulter at Woburn, Luke Donald at The Grove, Lee Westwood at Close House, and Justin Rose at Walton Heath, has now ended and Pelley added that the new agreement between the European Tour and Sky does not include the British Masters.

“To be honest, I’m disappointed we’ve been unable to find a title sponsor for next year given all the event has going for it,” Pelley told reporters on Sunday.

Rose, meanwhile, was not sitting on the fence, suggesting that perhaps it’s time the European Tour focused on having fewer more established tournaments.

Justin Rose British Masters

“Dare I say it, there are so many events on the European Tour that shouldn’t be there,” he said. “And these events with history are the ones that should be there.

“I wonder if we should be focusing on condensing things slightly, and stressing quality over quantity. It’s such a shame when we lose events like this one, and we’ve seen it far too often with the loss of other traditional events like the European Open.

“These are the ones where the fans really come out in force in the UK and support them and they create the type of atmosphere which makes it such a pleasure for the players to compete.”

So, will the British Masters return in 2019, or will it be missing from the schedule for just the eighth year since its inception in 1946?

Pelley has a week to find a sponsor. Watch this space.

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