Irishman Des Smyth won his second Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters title in three years with a superb four under par 68 in the final round at Woburn Golf Club.
The 59 year old from Drogheda, who won here in 2010, finished with a ten under par total in front of record crowds, one shot clear of Australian Peter Fowler and two in front of Englishman Mark James, the pair both signing for 67.
Smyth spend much of the day level at the top with Spaniard Juan Quiros, but the 11th hole proved pivotal, with the Irishman birdieing and the Spaniard bogeying to open up a two shot gap, and Quiros ultimately had to settle for a 73 and a share of fifth place.
“It was very enjoyable,” said Smyth, who won £45,000 and his fifth Senior Tour trophy. “I’ve been playing well for a number of weeks and I felt very comfortable. I’ve won tournaments before when I’ve scrambled and got it up and down from all over the place, but this was a comfortable round. I think I only missed one or two greens and I felt in control all day.
“I kept an eye on the board and knew I had a few shots to spare, but in the end I only won by one. I expected a run from someone and it happened. I wasn’t taking any chances on the way in. I had my lead and I just wanted to hit it on the fairway, hit it on the green and wait until something happened.
“I was trying to get birdies myself without pushing too hard. When I got to the last tee I had a two shot lead and there was no point in taking any gambles. It worked out well in the end.”
Smyth is the second player to win this event twice – after Carl Mason (in 2006 and 2007) – and heaped praise on the Duke’s Course.
“It’s a really quality course and condition-wise it was fantastic,” he said. “All the rain has been hopeless for the rest of the country, but this course is built on sand and it looked magnificent all week.
“It played a bit longer than we’re used to, but it’s always a pleasure to play here. In fact I might even come and live here, it’s that nice!
“In the last few years I’ve made some changes to my game, and in the last eight or nine months I’ve felt very comfortable. I’m 60 next year and my next goal is to win in my 60s. I’m looking forward to good things.”
For James and Fowler, finishing second capped a fine week during which the former was awarded Honorary Life Membership of The European Tour and the latter received the 2011 Rolex Player of the Year award having won last season’s Order of Merit.
James said: “I’m very pleased and this caps a great week. To receive Honorary Life Membership was a real honour, and it’s nice I’ve followed it up with a good performance.
“The last few weeks I’ve played pretty poorly, but I’ve been working very hard and my swing felt better and better as the week went on.”
Fowler added: “Thursday evening (the Senior Tour annual awards dinner) was an excellent night and to get the award was great. I played well last week and I’m happy with the way I’ve played this week too.
“I drove it well this week, which is important on this course. It gave me a few more birdie chances.”