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England’s Dale Whitnell completed the journey from courier driver to DP World Tour winner as he claimed an emotional victory at the Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed.
Whitnell was regarded as one of British golf’s brightest prospects when he turned professional in 2009, shortly after playing on a Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team that included future European number one and Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood.
But he struggled to find his feet in the paid ranks and took on work as a delivery driver while playing on satellite tours before claiming a win on the Challenge Tour in 2019, the same year he earned his DP World Tour card via the Qualifying School.
He has been establishing himself on the main circuit since and a closing 70 in Stockholm handed him a 21 under total and a three-shot victory over American Sean Crocker.
“It’s awesome,” said a clearly emotional Whitnell. “It tested me out there.
“It’s been a long time coming, I’m ecstatic. It means everything to me, it’s what I get up every day for. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come. I’ve dreamt of this for a long time.”
The 34-year-old brought a six-shot lead into the weekend and extended that to eight at one point on Saturday but he was not to have it all his own way at Ullna Golf and Country Club.
Despite a bogey on the second, he led by six after four holes of his final round but the advantage was back to four at the turn and when Crocker made a second eagle of the day on the 15th and Whitnell found water on the 13th, the lead was just two.
A seemingly nerveless 17-foot birdie putt on the 17th handed the leader some breathing room, however, and after finding the green in two at the last, he and caddie Garry Melia – who was only on the bag for this week – were left to celebrate.
Crocker’s closing 65 left him at 18 under, three shots clear of German Ryder Cup hopeful Yannik Paul and Anne Van Dam, who was the leading women’s player.
English duo Gabriella Cowley and Paul Waring were at 14 under, with Swedish amateur Hugo Townsend, son of two-time Ryder Cup player Peter Townsend, two shots further back.