Mark Wharton emerged triumphant in Stage One of the European Senior Tour Qualifying School at Silves Golf Course.
Wharton, who turns 50 on May 2 this year and joined the professional ranks in October 2012, led 29 successful qualifiers from Silves Golf Course at the Pestana Golf Resorts, in Portugal’s Algarve region.
The Englishman added a round of 68 to his opening effort of 67 to finish the two-day qualifier on five under par, two strokes ahead of his nearest challenger Miguel Guzman of Argentina, who signed for a best-of-the-day 67.
Wharton, who mixed four birdies with two bogeys in wet and windy playing conditions, hit 15 greens in regulation and would have finished further clear were it not for a number of missed chances late in his round.
Meanwhile, over at Gramacho Golf Course, it was Swedish amateur John Lindberg who finished top of the pile after signing for a superb round of 69 which was the lowest of the day by three shots.
Lindberg was the only player in the 80-man field to finish under par, with Brazilian Luiz Martins and American John Ross finishing in a share of second place two shots back on one over par.
A total of 29 players also progressed from Gramacho Golf Course to next week’s Final Stage at the Vale da Pinta Course, at Pestana Carvoeiro Golf Resort, where the 58 qualifiers will be joined by 17 exempt players in a battle for the 14 cards on offer for the 2013 Senior Tour Schedule.