Justin Walters celebrated becoming the inaugural Challenge Tour graduate of the Year at Wentworth Club with a five under par 67 to take his place on the BMW PGA Championship leaderboard.
The 33 year old South African, who finished 15th on The Challenge Tour in 2012, was 64th on last year's Race to Dubai thanks predominantly to a runner-up finish in Portugal.
That proved to be a highly emotional occasion – Walter breaking down in tears after holing a 50 foot putt on the final green that secured outright second place and his card for 2014 just days after his mother died.
Five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle at the long fourth saw Walters briefly claim the clubhouse lead before Thomas Björn's remarkable course record equalling 62, and the Dane was on hand to present Walters with his award.
“For me, it's an amazing score,” said Walters of his round.
“I think last year the weather wasn't quite as good, and I shot five over perhaps the first round. I turned it around quite a lot and coming into the week, I had absolutely no form.
“It's been a quick turnaround – we'll see what's left. I came into the week just wanting to try to enjoy it; it is, it's a special week on our Tour, and hopefully I can continue to do that.
“I was very excited to receive the award but I wasn't expecting to kind of feel the emotions I'm feeling now.
“It brings back a lot of memories, a lot of good ones, a lot of tough ones, but to be able to come out on top with such a strong field of players that did graduate with me is an amazing feeling, and to be able to do what I achieved last year on this Tour with some of the best players in the world really gives me a warm feeling of achievement, and I hope to continue what I did last year and carry it through this year.
“I do want to thank The Challenge Tour for providing me that opportunity to become the player that I am now and giving me the opportunities to grow as a person, as a player, and develop my career among such astute company such as Thomas, and the best players in the world that I get to play with week in and week out.
“It's a wonderful award. Any time you receive the first award, it makes it that much sweeter. I really thank The Tour for creating this initiative and I would like to thank them for the award itself.”