Double Senior Major winner Roger Chapman may have narrowly missed out on winning the French Riviera Masters, but his consolation prize was that he wrapped up the Order of Merit title with two events of the season remaining.
Chapman led by one shot with three holes to play at Terre Blanche Resort and Golf Club, but bogeys at the 16th and 18th meant he finished one shot behind David J Russell and Tim Thelen, the former ultimately winning the play-off.
The pair had shot 65 and 66 respectively to pip Chapman, who won the US Senior PGA Championship and the US Senior Open earlier this year, but the 53 year old did enough to ensure he will finish the season as the Senior Tour Number One.
Barry Lane, who is in second place, a little more than €100,000 behind, is not playing the Fubon Senior Open in Taiwan in November, so even victory in the season-ending MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius would not be enough for him to overhaul his compatriot.
“I went to France to consolidate the Number One spot, and the aim was just to beat Barry Lane, who could still catch me, and I’ve done that. So there is a silver lining,” said Chapman.
“I knew exactly what was happening but I put myself under a bit of pressure with a bad first putt on the 16th, which left me a nasty four-footer down the hill, which I missed. On the 18th I hit a decent chip after coming up short of the green, but missed the putt for a par, which would have got me in the play-off.
“In my first ever tournament as a senior, Eamonn Darcy and Mark James shot 66 and 65 to beat me, so this sort of sticks in the throat a little. But fair play to them, they played really well and DJ thoroughly deserved it.
“It would have been nice to win here, in Europe, and make it three for the season and wrap up the Order of Merit in style, but it wasn’t to be – c’est la vie.
“It has been a fantastic season. To win two Majors and both in America is a dream come true.
“I gave myself a target of top four in Europe this year – that was what I was saying openly – but deep down I wanted to be Number One. I didn’t want to say that sort of thing at the start of the season because it can come back to bite you, but I can say it now.
“I didn’t want it to go down to Mauritius, the final event, and I entered the Fubon Senior Open in Taiwan as a back-up plan. It’s a long way to go but I would have done if I had to.”