BORDERS golfer Craig Howie secured fifth place in the UK Championship at the weekend – his best performance as a professional.

Playing in his fifth start on the main European Tour, the 26-year-old from Peebles produced a rousing final-round 65 at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield to finish on -12.

In the previous rounds, he scored 68, followed by a level-par 72 on the Friday and a fighting 71 in difficult conditions on the Saturday.

After his stunning final round on Sunday, Howie said: “That was a brilliant last round. I went out there not expecting a lot and just went out there to have a bit of fun and to shoot a 65 was pretty pleasing.

“It’s the first time I’ve been in contention on the European Tour, so it made for an exciting day.

“I haven’t really played a lot given the quarantine period and also being a Challenge Tour player, there hasn’t been that many events.

“So, to have some time on the golf course of late has been much appreciated.

“The course was still playing quite tricky on the final day and it’s tough to get a good score but then after a few early birdies, I managed to play a good back nine and now that I have finished top-10 I also get to play this week in Spain [at the Andalucia Masters].”

The result moves Howie up 53 places to 120th in the Race to Dubai rankings and gives him a great opportunity to gain his full European Tour card for next season.

Rasmus Højgaard won The Belfry event with a score of -14. Second-place went to Justin Walters, third to Martin Kaymer, fourth to Benjamin Hebert and then Howie came tied fifth with Bernd Wiesberger.