Steen Tinning is hoping to maintain his stranglehold on the top of the Senior Tour Order of Merit as he chases a third victory in the tour’s final event on European soil at the Dutch Senior Open, having climbed to the summit for the first time with victory last week.
The Dane emerged triumphant from an epic battle with Spain’s Santiago Luna at the English Senior Open last week to claim a second title this season and move into pole position to claim the famous John Jacobs Trophy in his rookie season.
Tinning now leads second-placed Englishman Paul Wesselingh in the Order of Merit by just €13,820 and with only three events left, the race to finish the year as the Senior Tour Number One is building towards a thrilling climax.
The Copenhagen native, who turned 51 on Monday, is thrilled to be leading the race and as the ironman and triathlon enthusiast reaches the final stages of the season, he knows he will need a sprinting finish if he is to finish the job.
“It would be unbelievable to finish at the top of the Order of Merit,” said Tinning. “It’s already been an unbelievable season and that would just top off an incredible year of golf for me.
“The consistency of my game this year has been really good. The most surprising thing though is how I have performed on Sundays when I have been in with a chance.
“When I played Mauritius last year I didn’t putt very well and didn’t think I had done well so when I flicked through the results and saw I was top 20 I was really happy. So I thought then that maybe if I play my best I could compete out here.
“Then when I saw the golf that some of these guys could produce on a Sunday I thought to myself ‘I don’t think I could ever do that’ but I continued to work hard and that’s all it is down to. If you work hard, it will come through for you on a Sunday, so I'm delighted that I have managed to do that twice this year.”
The last one came in the most dramatic circumstances as he came from two shots back with three holes to play to win, birdieing the 16th and 17th to steal victory from the jaws of defeat.
He is hoping he can strike a balance this week between the excitement and momentum garnered with that win and a characteristic calmness which he took into the start of the week in England as he chases a third title of the season.
“It’s a new week this week and I have new things to digest and take in,” he said. “I was fairly relaxed going into last week and I hope to stay in that mood this week. It will probably help playing with amateurs in the opening two days.
“I just have to keep my philosophy and work hard and if I reach that Sunday afternoon in contention I have reached my goal. I feel like after that great head-to-head battle I had with Santiago, I can win anything now.
“We pushed one another on so much and to come out on top was great, even though I don’t think there was a loser from that battle. We were both winners in a way. It was great.”
Peter Fowler is also gunning for a big finish to the season as he bids for a second John Jacobs Trophy to go with the one he won in 2011, while the in-form duo of Miguel Angel Martin of Spain and Scotland’s Andrew Oldcorn – who have amassed 11 top ten finishes in their last seven events between them – will be hoping to record their first victories of the season.
Former Ryder Cup captains Mark James and Sam Torrance, whose Great Britain and Ireland team narrowly lost out to José María Olazábal’s Continental Europeans in the Seve Trophy last week, are also on show at The International, outside the Dutch capital of Amsterdam.