Japan’s Massy Kuramoto called on his love of links golf to claim his second European Senior Tour victory in the Van Lanschot Senior Open, finishing two shots clear of Andrew Oldcorn in The Netherlands.
The diminutive 56 year old, who is 5ft 4inches tall, carded the lowest round of the week, a superb closing 69, as the wind made playing conditions difficult for a third consecutive day at Royal Haagsche Golf & Country Club.
Kuramoto finished tied fourth in The Open Championship at Royal Troon in 1982 and he used that links experience to full effect in The Hague to hold off the determined challenge of Oldcorn, who had to settle for second place for the second tournament in a row.
“I love links golf but this was an up and down links course,” said Kuramoto. “When I came to Holland I thought it was flat. It was so tough playing in this wind but I’m so small, I think the wind blows straight over my head.
“I’m delighted to win though. It means a lot to me as my exemption ran out this year.”
It was Kuramoto’s second Senior Tour victory following his win the Handa Cup Senior Masters in his homeland two years ago, but the victory is likely to live long in his memory as it was the first time his wife Margie had caddied for him.
“We decided to have a bit of a holiday in Europe because the exemption was due to run out and we wanted to do some sightseeing,” he said. “She wanted to caddie for me but the bag was too heavy for her so I bought her an electric trolley and she pushed it around.
“It was the first time she has caddied for me so she brought me some luck. I think she will be getting 70 per cent of the prize money and I will only get 30!”
Kuramoto had started the final round in an eight-way share of second place, a shot behind overnight leader Gordon Brand Jnr, but it was his playing partner Englishman John Harrison who set the pace for most of the final round.
Harrison opened with two birdies and reached the turn in three under par 33, but back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes, followed by double bogey six on the par four 16th cost him his chance of a maiden Senior Tour title.
Instead it was Kuramoto who emerged from the pack, recovering from his only bogey of the day on the third hole to pick up shots on the fourth and fifth holes. The Hiroshima-born player then sank a crucial eight foot birdie putt on the tenth hole and picked up another shot on the 15th for a winning total of level par 216.
His victory breaks the domination of English players on the Senior Tour so far in 2012, following Gary Wolstenholme’s two victories, Roger Chapman’s US Senior PGA Championship win and Paul Wesselingh’s maiden title.
“This is a big win for me as it means I can continue to play on the Senior Tour,” said Kuramoto. “It was nice having John to chase as it kept me focused. On this course, the last six holes are tough so I tried to keep at least one stroke behind
“I’m so happy to win here and I’m looking forward to coming back again next year.”
In-form Oldcorn was runner up for the second time in three years after also finishing second behind George Ryall in the inaugural event in 2010.
The Scot, who was also runner up in the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship a fortnight ago, was given a retrospective one shot penalty on his first round score under rule 34-1 for a correction of an incorrect ruling.
Oldcorn had failed to follow the correct procedure when identifying his ball in the rough on Friday, but he did not let that setback affect him as he carded four birdies and two bogeys in a round of 70 to finish on two over par 218.
Harrison and Spaniard Juan Quiros shared third place a further two strokes back on four over par 220 after both players closed with rounds of 73.
Overnight leader Brand Jnr could not recover after a double bogey on the sixth hole and the former Ryder Cup player signed for a five over par 77 to drop back to a share of ninth position.