BASINGSTOKE golfer Stuart Archibald has his sights set on the EuroPro Tour Order of Merit title after claiming victory at The Walk in My Shoes Open in Ireland last week.

The 30-year-old from Worting finished two shots clear of his nearest rival on -14 after three rounds at Mount Wolseley, in County Carlow.

An opening round of 68 (-4) had Archibald two shots off the lead, but it was a fantastic bogey-free, seven-under-par second round of 65 that laid the foundation for his victory.

Going into the final round one shot behind the leader, the Basingstoke man piled on the pressure by making birdies at three of the first five holes, putting him in the lead. Another birdie at 12 took him two shots clear and he held his nerve down the stretch, shooting a final round of 69 (-3) to win by two strokes.

The win ended Archibald’s three-year wait for a third victory on the EuroPro Tour, the third tier of competition in European golf, and lifted him up to eighth on the Order of Merit.

“I really want to kick on from this win, and my aim is to win the Order of Merit,” Archibald said. “A win has felt like it has been coming all year and I finally managed to put it all together for three rounds.

“I played nicely in the first round, while the second round was my most solid round as a professional and my joint lowest score.

“My goal for the final day was to put pressure on the leader with some early birdies. I managed to get ahead after five holes and never looked back.”

It’s not all good news for Archibald though, who has had to dye his beard blue after making a wager with former tour professional John Morgan.

“John told us about how he had blue hair when he played PGA Tour, and he has been on about my beard all year,” Archibald explained. “He said he would love to dye it. I wasn’t so keen but I told him if I won I would let him dye it any colour he wanted, and he went for blue.”

Victory in Ireland gave Archibald a much-needed financial boost, earning him £10,000.

“The money means that I am self-sufficient now, but a big thank-you goes to my sponsors, The Legend Alliance, who also sponsor Reading FC,” he said. “They supported me when I had nothing, giving me the chance to play the last few events.”

Archibald was back in action this week, taking part in The Clipper Logistics Championship, which got under way at Moor Allerton, near Leeds, yesterday.

However, things did not go to plan, with the 30-year-old shooting rounds of 73 (+2) and 72 (+1) to miss the cut. 

He will be hoping to fare better at The Break90 Classic, which begins next Wednesdya at Slaley Hall, in Northumberland.