Think of Dundee and what crops into your mind? That’s right, it’s jam, jute and journalism. And now we can add a bit of je ne sais quois too.

Victor Perez, the Frenchman who has called Dundee home for the last 18 months, has embraced the city to such an extent he probably nips into the local bakers and asks for “twa pehs” to accompany his Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Perez was certainly the toast of St Andrews last night as he claimed his maiden win on the European Tour with victory in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

The 27-year-old, a graduate of last season’s Challenge Tour, closed with a two-under 70 on a chilly, demanding day over the Old Course for a 22-under total and landed the first prize of £650,000 by a single shot from Englishman Matthew Southgate.

It was a breakthrough victory for Perez. He may be French, but his was a win made in Scotland. The Auld Alliance is alive and kicking it seems.

Dundee has certainly been a city of discovery for Perez and he made the decision to come to Scotland to better his golfing career. With a variety of terrific facilities on his doorstep, he has prospered.


Perez’s girlfriend is a dentistry student in Dundee. The beaming grin he displayed last night certainly did not require a scale and polish.

“I think that the culture of golf in Scotland should make almost every golfer want to come here if you’re in continental Europe,” said Perez, as he delivered a passionate address about the benefits of golf in the game’s cradle.

“It’s great because the people here live golf. It’s all about golf. It’s just the passion for the game. You see people going to gas stations with a golf bag. You never see that in France. I love golf. Golf is my life.

“I felt like I needed to be around a culture that would cherish that, rather than being in France. That’s not to say that the French culture is bad. I think it has a lot of really good values, but I want to perform in golf and on that basis I believe it was better for me to come here.

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“Living in Dundee, just 20 minutes from here, makes this win more special. Sleeping at home I think is a great advantage. For a professional golfer, sleeping in your own bed is a massive thing for resting and recovery.

“When you’re away, you never really know what you’re going to get. I feel like having the little details that make you more comfortable may have given me the edge.”

On tense, tight final day, Perez and Southgate were so close together you could barely separate them with a line of dental floss. Sharing the lead heading into the closing round, a two horse race developed although Southgate stumbled out of the gates with a three-putt on the very first hole.

His response was robust, though, and he unleashed the heavy artillery and blasted four birdies in five holes from the fifth to up the ante and lead at the turn.

On the 11th it was Perez’s turn to three-putt as he fell two shots behind but a two shot swing on the 14th gave the Frenchman renewed hope.

Southgate, a winner on the Old Course in the 2010 St Andrews Links Trophy during his amateur days, made a hash of his chip and ended up with a bogey while Perez two-puted the par-five for a crucial birdie. It was a key moment.

“With that three-putt on 11 I felt like it was slipping a little bit through my hands,” said Perez. “But when he missed his chip on 14 I knew that was my chance and I told myself ‘this is the opening’.

“These guys are so good. If they open the door, they are going to open it once, maybe, if you’re lucky. You saw it last week at Wentworth (in the BMW PGA) with Danny Willett and Jon Rahm.

“Danny Willett didn’t open the door at all for Jon Rahm. He birdied the holes he needed to birdie. He parred the holes he needed to par But I felt like Matt opened the door on 14 for me. And I was able to sneak right in.”

It was still nip-and-tuck coming down the stretch but in this golfing stand-off, Southgate blinked again on the 17th and three-putted for another bogey. That gave Perez a slender one shot lead coming up the 18th and when Southgate’s birdie putt on the last didn’t drop, the luxury of a two-putt to win was gobbled up with glee by Perez.

Southgate, who is still seeking a first tour win, was philosophical in defeat. It’s not been a vintage year for the 30-year-old, who successfully battled against testicular cancer in 2015, but this has given his season new vigour.

“I’ve done everything I can do,” he reflected. “I was impressed with how level-headed I stayed and felt amazingly calm really all day, which is quite a surprise to be honest.

“I thought I might be a little more excited and kept a great rhythm with my swing. I didn’t miss a shot all day and if anything, hit a couple too good that went past the flag.

“It’s been a horrible season for me and this has sorted that right out and got me right back to the Race to Dubai and that’s the goal for me, really.

“I think I’ve proven to the world this week that when I do switch it on, I can mix it with the best and I’ve beaten a hell of a lot of good players this week.

“I’m sure when it all comes out in the wash, I’ll be having a beer somewhere with a smile and look back on this week as a huge success.”

Perez, meanwhile, was being doused in the celebratory champagne.