American John Grace claimed his second European Seniors Tour title in the space of a fortnight when he captured the Ordina Legends in Golf at Crayestein Golf Club in Holland. Grace fired a final round of 68 for a six under par total of 207, one clear of Northern Ireland’s David Jones, whose three putt from 30 feet on the 16th ultimately proved costly.
Grace, a member of the 1975 Walker Cup team where he played alongside the likes of Curtis Strange and Craig Stadler, now moves to second in the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit with 107,485 euro (£66,183) in his rookie season.
“It was very tense down the last nine and if I hadn’t won before I would have found it much more difficult,” said Grace. “When I came here I had a target to finish in the top 50 of the money list. I certainly didn’t expect to win twice and be right up there in second.”
Starting the final round level with Jones on three under par Grace made the faster start with two birdies in the first three holes. But Jones kept in touch with a birdie on the third and two more in an outward 33 while Grace bogeyed gave the Ulsterman a two-shot advantage after nine holes.
But Jones lost his concentration around the turn, dropping shots at the 10th and 12th, and when Grace birdied 11 and 12 it was the American’s turn to pull two clear. Jones hit back straight away with a brace of birdies to level the scores with four to play but Grace was handed back the lead he was not to relinquish when Jones three putted the 16th green.
Jones said: "I lost my composure on the tenth for a couple of holes but pulled it back. The three putt was silly but I've now finished third and second in the last two events so I hope the progression will continue."
After also winning The Belfry PGA Seniors Championship last month, Grace now has the chance to end Tommy Horton’s four-year reign at the top of the Order of Merit in only his first year as a professional. Unlike most of his Walker Cup colleagues from the 1975 match at St Andrews, Grace opted to stay amateur. His team-mates went on to win numerous US Tour events and a handful of major championships but Grace has no regrets.
“They could all beat me and I’m glad I stayed an amateur,” he said. “But I’m sure glad I turned professional aged 50 and I’m having a great time here.”