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Friday, 19 March 2010
American Alan Tapie, playing his first season as a senior after graduating from the Seniors Tour Qualifying School, claimed his maiden victory with a 10 under par total of 200 in the Elf Seniors Open at Golf de Chantaco in France.

The slim Californian, who tunred 50 only in March, shot 70 for a ten under par 200 total to win by three from Scotland's John McTear, (71) and Ieland's Liam Higgins, who closed with a 66.

Neil Coles, who will be 65 in September, edged out Frenchman Jean Garaialde for the super seniors prize by covering the last nine holes in 31 for a 66.

It left him tied fourth, one ahead of Garaialde (66), on 204 with Ulsterman Eddie Polland, who bogeyed the last for a 67, and American Jerry Bruner (73).

Tony Jacklin, who turned 55 last Wednesday, shot 69 to tie 12th on 207. Tapie, who came close to winning three times on the US Tour between 1975 and 1982, won £17,857 to go past Tommy Horton, absent in the US Senior Open, to top the money list with £46,924.

He said: "I quit the main Tour at home for family reasons and haven't competed regularly since 1982. I was a bit shaky early on and didn't play well but I stuck in there to achieve my fist substantial victory."

McTear was tied for the lead at eight under par with two to play after birdie fours at the 13th and 15th but overshot the last two greens for bogeys.

The Glasgow club professional, whose previous best finish was 25th, said: "I guess the adrenalin was pumping - I hit my seven iron 20 yards further than I expected at the last.

"At 17 I would have putted but there was a ridge between my ball and the pin. My chip hit the flag but ran six feet past and I missed the putt. I'm still over the moon."

A last hole bogey KO'd Polland in his all-Irish dual with Higgins, who drove within 40 yards of the green at the 348-yards 16th for a birdie three to catch his playing partner on seven under. Palland's ball kicked off the green at the last into a bunker and cost him a bogey five.

"I broke my toe in an accident at home last weekend, and I've been in agony all week," said the winner of the Lawrence Batley event a fortnight ago, seven days after having the stitches removed following a knee cartilage operation.

"I just couldn't get the leg action through the ball and was having to take two woods to try and get up at the par fives which cost me the tournament."

Higgins, battling flu all week, grabbed six birdies to match Polland's 33 out and went within two inches of the ninth hole in one of his career at the tenth.

He said: "The steaming heat helped me sweat out the flu and made me feel more relaxed than usual. Playing with Eddie inspired me and I can't wait for the Senior British Open on Irish soil at Royal Portrush the week after next."

Gordon Parkhill's 70 left him on 207 but David Jones slipped to a 74 for 209 after starting bogey, double bogey, after losing a ball at the second.

Ends

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