Daniel Hillier of New Zealand poses with the British Masters trophy. Photo / AP
A 40-foot eagle putt sparked a stunning finish from New Zealand’s Daniel Hillier as he won the British Masters and secured his place in the British Open.
Hillier’s first European tour title was delivered in spectacular fashion when he carded a six-under 66 in the final round at the Belfry. His winning total of 10-under par saw him finish two shots ahead of England’s Oliver Wilson and American Gunner Wiebe.
“I’m gobsmacked. I think it’s going to take me a while to process to be honest,” Hillier said after starting three shots off a six-way tie for the lead. “Early on in the day I was not feeling it at all. I was a little bit uncomfortable with the driver, didn’t have many chances but obviously knew there were some chances coming in.
“I didn’t think I would take them that well, but obviously pretty ecstatic.”
As well as his eagle on the par-five 15th, Hillier made birdie from a fairway bunker on the 16th and had another eagle with a six-foot putt on the par-five 17th.
“I’m not going to lie, I was definitely looking at the leaderboard and seeing my name up there and thinking about what it would be like to finish it off but it’s all a bit of a blur really,” Hillier said. “It’s going to be a pretty awesome experience playing the Open again so I can’t wait.”
Hillier, who also recorded recent top-five finishes at the KLM Open and BMW International Open, follows in the footsteps of countryman Bob Charles, who won this event in 1972, and he was thrilled to be in such illustrious company.
“That’s pretty amazing. Obviously he’s New Zealand’s golfing hero so it’s pretty cool to be on the same trophy as him.”