Dundee-based Frenchman Victor Perez says his decision to move to Scotland 18 months ago helped lay the foundations for the biggest win of his career.
Perez held off the challenge of England’s Matthew Southgate to claim the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with a one-shot victory in only his 29th appearance on the European Tour.
The 27-year-old, who shot a final round of two-under 70 on a blustery day at St Andrews, is the first Frenchman to win the £4million tournament.
But Perez credits his decision to move to Dundee as the catalyst for his success.
Speaking to The Press and Journal, he said: “I’ve been in Dundee for a year and a half. There were a number of reasons why I came here.
“The culture of golf in Scotland should make almost every golfer want to come here.
“It’s great because the people here live golf and have so much passion for the game. You see people going to gas stations with a golf bag. You never see that in France.
“Golf is my life and I felt I needed to be around a culture that would cherish that, rather than being in France. I felt to perform in golf it was better to come here.”
Southgate and Perez started the day tied for the lead on 20-under and they remained level pegging on 22-under until the pivotal moment at the 17th green when the Englishman’s par putt lipped out.
Perez rolled home his par putt and another par at the 18th was enough to claim the top prize of £650,000 and a two-year exemption on the European Tour.
Perez, whose girlfriend Abigail is a dentistry student in Dundee, added: “A number of things are going to change for me.
“The way you’re perceived, your schedule and your levels of expectation are all going to be different.
“Now I have won I may feel like I should be doing it every week but I know that won’t be the case.
“Good golf is always going to put you right where you should be in the long run. This was a great opportunity and I showed I can do it.
“Now the question is how much I can replicate it. When you win, you want to ride the wave a little bit.
“You have to take advantage when things are going your way as you never know how long that will last.”
Southgate, who grew up in Southend but was given membership to Carnoustie on his 16th birthday as a reward for getting cut to scratch, was close to becoming the fifth English winner at St Andrews in seven years.
The Englishman, who feared he was going to have to give up professional golf after being diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2015, was proud of the way he competed.
He said: “I think I’ve proven to the world this week that when I do switch it on, I can mix it with the best.
“I’m sure when it all comes out in the wash, I’ll be having a beer somewhere with a smile and some good friends and I’ll look back on this week as a huge success and a massive achievement in my career.”