Tim Thelen’s Senior Tour dream continued with a second victory in just seven days at the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open.
After holding off the challenge of Bernhard Langer, Peter Fowler, Barry Lane and Mark Mouland in Germany last week, the American resisted former Ryder Cup Captains Ian Woosnam and Mark James at the Golf Club Bad Ragaz to take home the €42,000 first prize.
“I could get used to this feeling,” said Thelen after signing for a final round of three under par 67 that gave him an 12 under total and secured a two-shot win over James, with Woosnam a further shot back in third.
“This is pretty amazing to win a second event in seven days. I played great again this week and to come out on top against another two of the game’s great players in Mark James and Ian Woosnam is very satisfying.”
Thelen took a three shot lead into the final round and looked to be cruising to victory with three birdies in his opening six holes. He cancelled out his bogey on the seventh by picking up a shot on the next hole, but dropped shots at the tenth and 12th allowed Woosnam and James the chance to mount a final challenge.
Former Masters Champion Woosnam birdied the 15th and 16th to briefly get within a shot of Thelen, but it was James who provided the more serious challenge, as the Englishman picked up three shots in the last four holes to pile the pressure on Thelen.
But like last week, Thelen responded with emphatic positivity, birdieing the 15th before a piercing seven iron to 15 feet enabled him to roll home a birdie two on the 17th to give him a two shot lead coming down the last.
“I looked at the leaderboard on the 16h and saw I had a two shot lead,” said Thelen. “Then Mark birdied the last to cut the lead to one, so that seven iron on 17 really was a fabulous shot. Making that birdie putt was a big moment too because it gave me a cushion to play the last.”
Thelen made a comfortable par on the 18th to put the seal on another memorable performance, before being congratulated by many of his fellow Senior Tour Members.
Among them, two genuine legends of the game – Sir Bob Charles and Gary Player – who continue to amaze the world of golf with their unbelievable levels of performance.
Charles’s first round 66 in Bad Ragaz saw the New Zealander better his age by a Senior Tour record of ten shots, while Player’s scores of 72-70-71 were a testament to the nine-time Major Champion’s fitness and competitive drive.
Charles added a 73 and a 72 to his remarkable first round to finish the week at one over par – two ahead of Player – and in a tie for 42nd place.
Thelen’s victories in last week’s Berenberg Bank Masters and now the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open have propelled him to second place in the Order of Merit.
Roger Chapman leads the way with €304,453, thanks in the main to his brilliant victory in the US Senior PGA Championship, but Thelen’s amazing form has seen him climb from 21st to second in the space of seven days, with season’s earnings of €120,298.