Barry Lane would be forgiven for being frustrated at narrowly missing out on winning the Senior Tour Order of Merit for a second year running, but he sees 2012 as another successful campaign and is already looking forward to next season.
The 52 year old conceded defeat at the French Riviera Masters, where Roger Chapman’s tied third place finish gave him an unassailable lead in the race to win the John Jacobs Trophy.
Two events of the year remain, and with Lane only playing one of those – the season-ending MCB Tour Championship – his goal now is to ensure he finishes runner-up.
Last year he was pipped to the Order of Merit by Peter Fowler of Australia, the man who could also beat him into second spot this time.
And this year he has been eclipsed by the Major-winning form of his compatriot Chapman, who secured the US Senior PGA Championship and the US Senior Open in the space of two months.
“It’s been really fun, a great battle, and now it’s all about making sure I finish second again,” said Lane, who made more than 600 appearances on The European Tour, winning five times. “Roger absolutely deserves it.
“He’s had a fantastic season and if the prize money for winning the US Senior Open had counted for our Order of Merit it would have been done and dusted a long time ago. He’s always been a great player and good luck to him.”
Lane made an instant impact on the Senior Tour, finishing joint runner-up on his debut in 2010, in the De Vere Collection PGA Seniors Championship, before winning on his fourth appearance, in the 2010 Cleveland Golf/Srixon Scottish Senior Open.
He successfully defended his title in Scotland the following year and added a third victory in the Casa Serena Open, before notching another win this season in the Speedy Services Wales Senior Open.
“It’s my second full season on tour and I’ve won four times and finished second three or four times,” he said. “And I finished third in The Senior Open Championship, so it’s been a good year again, and all in all it’s been great fun.
“We’ve still got Mauritius to go, which will be excellent, and then it’s a question of looking forward to next season to do it all over again, and trying to get my hands on the John Jacobs Trophy.”
Considering Chapman’s Major victory, Lane did remarkably well to keep the race alive for as long as he did, but he pinpoints a disappointing spell either side of his victory in Wales as the deciding factor.
“Scotland (the SSE Scottish Senior Open) was disappointing because my clubs didn’t turn up,” he said. “I hadn’t practised for two weeks beforehand. That’s what I normally do – practise Wednesday and play in the pro-am on the Thursday – but I only managed to play six holes in the pro-am, and I shot 74 in the first round. I followed that with 65 and 67 – and that was with a bogey at the last, so I should have finished fourth instead of eighth.
“Then I won in Wales, which got me back in it again, but I didn’t play great at Woburn (Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters) and I kept having bad first rounds. I had a bad first day in Germany as well, but managed to finish tied second, and in the first round in France I finished double, double, double, and it’s very difficult to come back from that. So that was what cost me.”
The former Ryder Cup player is taking the positives from another consistent campaign on the Senior Tour.“You could look at it as a chance missed, or you could look at it as another successful season – and I see it as the latter,” he said. “I’m already looking forward to the new challenges next season, and hopefully I can continue to be in contention for titles and finish high up in the Order of Merit again. If it is in the Number One spot, all the better.”