Getting to Know Hero Open Winner Sean Crocker
AMERICAN Sean Crocker landed his maiden DP World Tour title as he took the Hero Open by a single shot but boy did England’s Eddie Pepperell give him a fright.
Crocker began the day with a two-shot lead but was joined at the summit early on as the chasing pack closed in on him at Fairmont St Andrews.
He led by one at the turn before starting the back nine with three birdies in four holes to reach 22 under par and stretch his advantage to two.
But with Pepperell in the clubhouse on 21 under, Crocker endured a nervy finish as he parred his way home to sign for a closing 68 and win by a shot. Pepperell birdied the second, fourth, sixth and seventh and claimed more birdies from the 12th before picking up another shot at the final hole for a closing 65.
Crocker said: "Winning a golf tournament is not easy. And Eddie did not make that easy for me either.
Crocker, who started the 2022 season with eight missed cuts and a retirement in his first nine events, was visibly relieved as he holed his four-foot par putt at the last to secure the trophy.
Pepperell finished alone in second one shot behind Crocker, while home favourite David Law and Adrian Otaegui shared third place on 19 under.
Afterwards, Crocker said: "After the three-putt par on the 15th I kind of thought I still had a little bit of room but they're not easy holes coming down that stretch.
"It was a great save on the 17th, and then I thought I could make it pretty easy - it's a par five coming in - but I don't think it's ever easy to make a par to win a golf tournament. That was pretty special.
"I was nervous. I've felt pressure like that before but it's my first pro tournament (win). That putt looked like it was 20 feet, that hole looked like it was half-an-inch wide.
"Right off the face I knew it was a well-struck putt and as I looked up and I saw it drop I was telling myself 'don't start crying'.
"It's awesome. It just shows you that you just don't know what this game is going to bring you.
"We go out there every day trying our hardest and we can play terrible for a long time and then all of a sudden you have a week like this where every bounce seemed to go my way, putts dropped, I hit the ball beautifully and it just makes me appreciate this game I play and what I get to do for a living.
"I hope I keep putting myself in this position. That door has been locked shut for me for almost five years. To go wire to wire I think I knocked the door clean off its hinges, which is nice."
Who is Sean Crocker?
Crocker represents America but was born in Harare in August 1991. He attended the University of Southern California. His father, Gary, represented Zimbabwe at cricket. Crocker turned professional in 2017 and chose to play in Europe. He joined the Challenge Tour in 2018 and four top-five finishes meant that he secured his playing rights for the DP World Tour for the 2019 season. He began the week at the Hero Open in 133rd place in the DP World Tour rankings and in 241st place in the world rankings.
He averages 305.6 yards from the tee and finds 55% of fairways and hits 66.83% of greens in regulation. He gets up and down from the sand just 30% of the time and averages 30.23 putts per round - both areas where he needs to improve.
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