The stars of the European Senior Tour gathered to celebrate a superb 2011 season at the annual awards dinner at the magnificent Woburn Abbey on Thursday evening.
On the eve of the Travis Perkins pls Senior Masters at Woburn Golf Club, players, staff and guests converged to present the awards, with Peter Fowler collecting the John Jacobs Trophy for winning the 2011 Order of Merit and Gary Wolstenholme receiving the Rookie of the Year award.
Nick Job was presented with the Lawrence Batley award for the leading player in the 2011 Order of Merit over the age of 60, with season earnings of €73,077, and was given the trophy by Lawrence Batley’s daughter, Rita Firth.
Fowler, who topped the money list last season after an impressively consistent, year during which he won twice and finished in the top ten 13 times from 18 appearances, was also voted the Rolex Player of 2011 by his fellow European Senior Tour Members.
The 53 year old Australian claimed the ISPS Handa Senior Masters presented by The Stapleford Forum and the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open, and he also finished runner-up in the ISPS Handa Senior World Championship presented by Mission Hills China and the Casa Serena Open.
Wolstenholme also enjoyed a marvellous season, posting nine top ten finishes from 21 appearances, including runner-up at the Benahavis Senior Masters and third at the Handa Australian Senior Open, the Mauritius Commercialbank Open and the Belas Clube de Campo Senior Open de Portugal.
The Englishman, who only turned professional at the age of 47 following a stellar amateur career, finished sixth in the season-ending MCB Tour Championship to end the season in fourth position in the Order of Merit.
The presentation ended on a high when England’s Mark James was awarded Honorary Life Membership of The European Tour by Chief Executive George O’Grady, in recognition of his illustrious career and contribution to The European Tour.
James won 18 European Tour titles and since turning 50 has won twice on the Senior Tour and three times on the Champions Tour in America. He played in seven Ryder Cups, winning once, in 1995, and Captained Europe in 1999.
It was fitting to be presented with the award in Woburn, which was the scene of his first Senior Tour win, the 2005 Bovis Lend Lease Senior Masters, and also his victory in the 1990 Dunhill British Masters.