Australian Ross Metherell certainly knows how to practice what he normally preaches. He snatched his second European Seniors title in a little more than a fortnight when he closed with a 71 for 12 under par 276 in the Belfry PGA Seniors Championship played over the PGA National layout at the Sutton Coldfield complex.
The 50-year-old coach from Perth edged American Bill Brask into second spot by a shot, just as he had done when he burst onto the European seniors scene with victory in the De Vere Hotels Classic at Ferndown.
The Minnesota professional missed out on a play-off yesterday when he chipped eight feet past on the 18th and missed the return to finish with a 69 for 277.
Metherell won 50 Australian tournaments in the 60s and 70s and now coaches several Australian tournament professionals including Stuart Leaney and Jarrod Moseley. He said: "I'm enjoying this. I only came over to see what it was like on the Tour and I must say I like it. But after another three tournaments over here I shall be back coaching next winter. It was close out there but I knew what I had to do. I have won from the front before."
The Australian was engaged in a tight final round in front of 5,000 spectators, his fellow countryman Terry Gale, winner at The Belfry three years ago, keeping close order. But Gale could not better par on the final circuit, a level 72 giving him third spot on ten under 278.
Brask had fired his effort with four birdies in six holes from the turn and will rue that clumsy chip at the last. He said: "I was pretty sure I needed a par, but I guess it just didn't work out."
The best British challenge came from Midland professional Jim Rhodes who, out in 36 fired his local supporters with three birdies in four holes from the turn to get to nine under and only two behind at that stage. But he had left it too late his eventual 70 leaving him in fourth on 280 and two behind Gale. Rhodes, former club professional at South Staffs said: "I'm happy. I feel I have had a good week."
Mike Slater, the big club professional from Portal at Warrington, looked set for his first title after setting a new course record 65 in the second round. He followed up with a 69 to be just a shot behind Metherell going into the final round. But three front nine bogies effectively removed his serious challenge and he closed with a 75 for 5th place on 281.
Welshman Brian Huggett pulled out of the tournament after the opening round suffering from gout. The 1998 Senior British Open champion was in some discomfort after the preceding pro-am and after limping to a one over par 73 he decided enough was enough.
South African Tertius Claassens highlighted his tournament when he struck a four iron into the hole for an albatross two at the 479-yard, par five 10th in the final round. It was a welcome boost - he was 14 over par at the time.
The attendance of 20,000 over the four days was a record for the event at The Belfry.