Australia’s Noel Ratcliffe produced one of the most sensational final rounds in European Seniors Tour history when he closed with a seven under par 65 to snatch victory in dramatic fashion at The Scotsman Scottish Seniors Open at Dalmahoy.
Ratcliffe, 55, from Sydney, started his final round seven shots behind overnight leader, Northern Ireland’s David Jones, but fired seven birdies in his first 10 holes to give him an advantage he did not relinquish. In the end, he finished on 11 under par 205, one shot ahead of compatriot, Trevor Downing, and a further stroke in front of Jones, who closed with a disappointing 74.
Fourth place was shared by England’s Malcolm Gregson who closed with a 73, Australia’s Terry Gale, who recorded a two under par 70, and America’s Jerry Bruner who shot through the field with a 68 that would have been better but for a bogey at the last.
“I have threatened to do something like this for a while,” said Ratcliffe, who prior to the Dalmahoy event had notched five top-10 finishes this season, including a second place at the De Vere Hotels Senior Classic a fortnight ago.
“For the last few weeks I have been hitting the ball well but not holing the putts. But today it was different. I kept doing the same thing hoping the tide would turn and it did.
“It’s great to win again,” he added. “I’ve been in contention in five of the last six weeks. I really need a rest but, after this, when I wake up tomorrow, I’m sure I will be raring to go again.”
Ratcliffe’s win, worth £16,660, his first since his only two Seniors Tour wins in 1997, took him into the top-10 on this season’s money for the first time this season.
It was also a good week for the evergreen Neil Coles won the concurrent £500 First National Super Seniors prize awarded to the leading competitor over the age of 50.
Coles, 65, the winner of this year’s Microlease Seniors Open, finished with a 71 for a share of eighth place alongside a large group comprising Scotland’s David Huish, Bernard Gallacher and Bill Lockie, England’s Peter Dawson and Steve Wild and America’s David Oakley.
Lockie, who went into the Dalmahoy event not having made a cut on the 2000 European Seniors Tour, and who also lost a shot when he signed for a wrong score during the second round, got the ample consolation of getting a top-10 place, good enough to give him a place at next week’s Ordina Legends event at Crayestein GC in Holland,
“It’s great news,” said the former pro at Kilmarnock Barassie, who now teaches at the Gailes Driving Range in Ayrshire. “I have arranged quite a lot of lessons but I will have to cancel them because I can’t afford to miss a chance like this.
“I’m really pleased with the way I played this week but, even after a night thinking about it, I still can’t explain why I signed for the wrong score yesterday. I suppose it was just carelessness but I promise I will never do it again.”
Trevor Downing won the weekly Lladro prize awarded to the first person to achieve the low round of the week. He won the award by opening with a 65, later matched by David Jones in the second round and Ratcliffe in achieving his victory.Final results and prize money