Inspired by his love of all things Scottish, including his courageous (some might say outrageous) final round tartan trousers, Barry Lane produced a brilliant final hole eagle to put the seal on a successful title defence at the Cleveland Golf / Srixon Scottish Senior Open.
After a thrilling final round battle with NBC television commentator and six time PGA Tour winner Gary Koch at Fairmont St Andrews, Lane stood on the 18th tee one shot clear of Koch, knowing he would have to produce a special finish to put an end to the challenge of his American rival.
A brilliant drive was followed by a crisp five iron to 18 feet, and when Koch’s own eagle effort drifted by the hole, Lane rolled his putt below ground to give the final round the finish it truly deserved as he signed for a final round of six under par 66 for a winning total of 14 under 274.
In the end that was two clear of Koch, whose own 67 ensured second spot ahead of Australia’s Peter Fowler and Ireland’s Des Smyth, with the Senior Tour’s most prolific winner Carl Mason taking fifth place.
For Lane, the defence of his title could not have been sweeter as he picked up the trophy and the winner’s cheque for €42,920.
“It’s great to retain the title and also if you look at the way I won by playing so well then it feels great,” smiled Lane before heading off to celebrate with wife Camilla.
“I think I had my first three putt of the week on the tenth hole today and that was for par. I played very nicely today, certainly the best that I have played all week. All in all it was a great week and a great way to finish with the eagle.
“But it was nip and tuck all the way round and even when I went three clear I stood on the 14th tee and told myself to stay aggressive and stay focussed because you never know what is going to happen. I managed to do that and then to hole the putt at the last was great.
“My third win in Scotland feels good. I don’t know what it is about the place but I just love playing here. Maybe it’s the air and the golf courses. Certainly this one suits my eye and I just love courses where you have to use your imagination to get it round.”
Then, of course, there were those tartan breeks (to use the Scottish name for trousers) that Lane strutted around the Torrance course.
“I have no idea what the tartan is because I am not a Scotsman!” Lane declared. “I actually bought them a few years ago. I saw the tartan and liked it and had them made but I have never been brave enough to wear them until today. I’m glad I did.
“I bought them in 2005 in China of all places but it is an authentic tartan as far as I know. One thing is for certain: they feel pretty good right now.”
Lane’s position on the Senior Tour Order of Merit will also make him feel pretty good about himself. The Englishman has moved from fifth place to third after his prize money elevated his season’s earnings to €172,122.
Fowler’s third place prize money of €17,887 took him to €216,741 for the season, and with current Number One Tom Watson highly unlikely to fulfil the playing requirements in order to stay on the order of merit, the race to win the John Jacobs Trophy is wide open with the top ten players all within €120,000 of Fowler.
If Lane can continue the form he showed at the Cleveland Golf / Srixon Scottish Senior Open, he may well be bringing the celebratory tartan breeks out of the wardrobe at the end of the year.