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Marcus Armitage opens up on emotional journey after first European Tour title

Marcus Armitage stormed through the field with a closing 65 to finish on eight under par and claim his first European Tour title.

An emotional Marcus Armitage produced a stunning final round to claim his first European Tour title in the Porsche European Open.

Starting the day four shots off the lead, Armitage stormed through the field with a closing 65 to finish on eight under par, two ahead of Matthew Southgate, Darius Van Driel, Edoardo Molinari and Thomas Detry.

Defending champion Paul Casey finished two strokes further back following a final round of 68 in an event reduced to 54 holes due to quarantine issues for players, caddies and staff from the UK.

Armitage, who left school at the age of 13 following the death of his mother, Jean, from cancer, told Sky Sports: "Twenty years ago I lost my mum and I've dreamt about this since that day, being a winner.

"You have times when you think this might not happen but I just stuck at it and today's a great day and I'm sure she'd be proud.

"I have everybody in my team that has helped me – this one's for me. Deep down it's for me, all them lonely days on my own dealing with life, working at my dream and I think I have to take a lot of credit for it myself."

Speaking in his post-event press conference, Armitage added: "I do this game for me and I have done for a long time, but the effect it has on the people around me is massive.

"My fiancee Lucy has been saying for years I just want you to do good so you can choose where you play and we can schedule a year and I can have proper time off instead of always fighting to get my card and have some status.

"That's one of the top benefits from winning and on top of that I've been having a rough time with my dad lately, we haven't been seeing eye to eye, but this means a lot to him, all the years he's stood by me and supported me."

Armitage, who recently set a Guinness World Record for the longest shot (303 yards) caught in a moving car, birdied the first and third at Green Eagle Golf Course before holing out from 80 yards for an eagle on the par-four seventh.

The 33-year-old almost repeated the feat on the ninth to set up a tap-in birdie and complete the front nine in just 29, before birdies on the 11th, 12th and 14th took him four shots clear.

Southgate responded to dropping a shot on the 11th with a tap-in birdie on the next and after Armitage gave the chasing pack further hope with a bogey on the 16th, Southgate closed to within one with a birdie on the 15th.

However, Southgate's hopes were effectively dashed when he found water off the tee on the 18th, which left Van Driel needing to eagle the same hole to force a play-off.

A superb drive left Van Driel just 226 yards to the green, but he bafflingly opted to lay up and when he unsurprisingly failed to hole his approach from 92 yards, Armitage could celebrate victory and a place in next week's US Open.

"To be going to Torrey Pines, where I watched it when Tiger (Woods) won there back in '08 it's going to be a special, special trip and I can't wait," Armitage added.

"It's another stepping stone to world level where I want to be. I just hope I pass all the Covid tests."

Ten places in the US Open were available via a mini-order of Merit from the last three European Tour events, with British Masters winner Richard Bland joining Armitage, Southgate, Molinari, Detry, Guido Migliozzi, Mikko Korhonen, Jordan Smith, Adrian Meronk and Dave Coupland in the field at Torrey Pines.

Austria's Bernd Wiesberger would also have qualified but secured his place via his world ranking following his victory in Denmark.

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Today's Olympic highlights header

Friday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

ROWING
· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
· Great Britain will be going for gold in the men's eight final (2.25am)

SWIMMING
· Team GB duo Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood take part in the women's 200m breaststroke final, but new Olympic record-holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa is the hot favourite (2.41am)
· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
· There is also British representation in the women's 100m freestyle final, although any medal for Anna Hopkin would be a surprise (2.59am)
· With one gold and one silver already under his belt at these Games, Duncan Scott goes again in the men's 200m individual medley final (3.16am)

TRAMPOLINE
· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

CANOE SLALOM
· Bradley Forbes-Cryans will be looking to emulate Rio gold medallist Joe Clarke in the men's kayak event (6am-9am)

FOOTBALL
· The women's tournament enters the quarter-finals, with Great Britain facing Australia at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium (10am)

> Today's schedule in full
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