Matthew Baldwin secures his first DP World Tour title at the SDC Championship

The 37-year-old started the day tied at the top of the leaderboard but made three birdies in the final four holes of his third round early Sunday morning to enter round four with a four-stroke lead.

And he kept his foot on the gas on the final lap, extending his lead on the turn to six shots thanks to three front nine birbys before breaking away from his first bogey of the day on the 11th with wins on the 13th and 14th .Recovered to finish the week 18 under par.

Spaniard Adri Arnaus was second at 11 under alone after notching seven birdies and two bogeys in his last 67, while Scotsman Ewen Ferguson was third in a five-way tie and had one more shot to go.

Baldwin has experienced many ups and downs on his journey to the winner’s circle.

After graduating from the Challenge Tour in 2011, he enjoyed an impressive first three seasons on the DP World Tour before illness forced him to end his 2015 campaign in May – and he had two surgeries that summer.

He lost his card in 2016 but was back for the 2018 season after going through qualifying school and would have returned via the Challenge Tour in 2021 but missed out after categories were frozen due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A 19th place finish on the Road to Mallorca last season marks his seventh full season on the DP World Tour and he can finally call himself champion.

Speaking of his journey to this moment at the trophy presentation, Southport native Baldwin said: “I’m not 100% sure what just happened! It’s been a tough couple of years so of course getting the win means absolutely everything.

“I can’t process it right now, but it just means the world to me.

“It was windy all week, such a golf course. Luckily for me I grew up playing in Southport at Hesketh and Royal Birkdale so I’m pretty good at wind and it’s turned out to be a pleasure for me.

“Of course I’d like to thank St Francis Links, the golf course was fantastic this week; the DP World Tour for their great events, as does the Sunshine Tour – they always welcome us down here.” Matthew Baldwin secures his first DP World Tour title at the SDC Championship

Russell Falcon

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