Wolverhampton’s very own professional golfer Aaron Rai won his first European Tour title by one shot in the season-opening Hong Kong Open.
The 23-year-old from Wolverhampton held off fellow Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick to secure an impressive one-shot victory at the Honk Kong Open this weekend.
It earned him just over a quarter of a million pounds in prize money, and cemented his place as one of golf’s up-and-coming stars.
“It’s incredible,” said Rai. “It definitely hasn’t sunk in just yet. I’ll probably need a few days for that to happen.
“It’s incredible to win on any Tour, let alone The European Tour and let alone the Hong Kong Open.
“It’s an incredible course, incredible event, very well supported. The crowds have been amazing. I’m just very grateful.”
Rai won three Challenge Tour events last year but this is his first European Tour title at just his 46th appearance.
It opens up the 2019 Race to Dubai in stunning style, and the golfer raised in Perton said the pressure on the final round felt different to anything else he has experienced.
“It felt a little bit different,” he admitted. “It’s nice having wins in the past which help you kind of in what expect in a sense, but it did feel a little bit different today in terms of just how big it is and the attention of people.
“Also playing with two real world class players in Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Fitzpatrick.
“I’ll have to re-evaluate myself before I can give you a good answer of what I learned, but I think just staying even more patient, really getting further into your own game, compared to just being aware of what the other guys are doing.
“I think the more you play against world class players like that, you kind of expect that they will never make it easy.”