Friday, 19 March 2010
Australia's Noel Ratcliffe claimed his first victory of the 2001 European Tour season when he closed with a fine five under par 67 to win the Beko Seniors Classic at the Gloria Golf Resort in Turkey.

Ratcliffe, who was No. 1 on last season's Seniors Tour Order of Merit, started the last round four shots behind the leaders, Scotland's Mike Miller and England's Malcolm Gregson, but a back nine of four under par 32, including two birdies in the last three holes, gave him a winning aggregate of seven under par aggregate of 209.

In the end, Ratcliffe, a winner of two titles on last season's Tour, finished one shot in front of another Australian, Terry Gale, who closed with a 70 for a three round aggregate of 210.

"It's great to win here because I needed a fast start if I'm going to retain my No. 1 spot on the money list," said Ratcliffe after receiving the £38,280 first place cheque.

"I have been practising very hard over the last month but I know that I will need to do a lot more because there are three or four newcomers out here who are bound to pose a big threat as the season goes on."

One of those newcomers, Scotland's Mike Miller, a former regular on the European Tour, started out the final round sharing the lead with England's Malcolm Gregson and with high hopes of notching his first Seniors Tour win on his very first outing on the Tour but he missed out on that feat after struggling to the turn in four over par 40. Nevertheless, aided by a hole-in-one on his penultimate hole, the Scot did charge home in 33, posted a final round score of 73 and grabbed a share of third place alongside Gregson, Australia's Ian Stanley and another newcomer, New Zealand's Barry Vivian.

On a great day for golfers from Down Under, another Australian, Bob Shearer, closed with a one under par 71, to share seventh place alongside two American’s, John Grace and Bob Lendzion on 214, and two Australians, Trevor Dowling and David Good were tied for 14th place on 214.

South Africa's Bobby Verwey, Gary Player's brother-in-law, won the £500 Hardy Wine Company Super Seniors prize, awarded to the leading competitor over the age of 60. Verwey closed with a level par 72 for a three round total of 213, a single shot ahead of 64 year-old Welshman, Brian Huggett, the outright winner at the 2000 Beko event.

Canada's Bill Harwick won third prize in the Super Seniors section after closing with a 71 and posting a aggregate of 214.

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