Sunday, 03 June 2001
Australia's Ian Stanley followed in the footsteps of two of greatest idols when he closed with a one over par 73 in blustery conditions to claim a two shot victory at the De Vere PGA Seniors Championship over the new Jack Nicklaus course at Carden Park in Cheshire.

However, the 52 year old Australian, who has now won two European Seniors Tour titles, was made to fight all the way by brave Englishman, Maurice Bembridge, who was as much as six shots behind after six holes in the final round but fought back to within one shot of the lead with a birdie two on the 159 yard par-3 16th hole.

In the end, the outcome was only settled when Stanley reacted to Bembridge's birdie with a birdie of his own on the 352-yard par 4 17th. The Australian then parred the last to finish two strokes clear of Bembridge with a four round 10 under par aggregate of 278.

His £33,320 first prize saw him leapfrog from 12th to first place on the European Seniors Tour money list with earnings of £46,498.

"It is a great honour for me to win this title," said Stanley, who hails from Melbourne and who commentates on golf for Fox TV when he is not competing on the Seniors circuit.

"I've always believed it to be one of the Senior majors and it is particularly special to win it because it means that I have now followed in the footsteps of two of my greatest idols, Peter Thomson and Kel Nagle.

"To be honest, I can't tell you how I feel at the moment. It's very special. For a while out there, I seemed to be cruising but then, when I got to six in front after the 5th, I might have become a little bit too negative and that let Malcolm back in.

"But all credit to him. He did a great job battling back the way he did and deserves a lot of credit for that."

Further down the field, New Zealand's Barry Vivian, a rookie on this year’s European Seniors, Tour finished alone in third place with a four under par aggregate of 284, a single shot ahead of another New Zealander, Simon Owen, and America's Jeff Van Wagenen. America’s David Ojala closed with a 73 to be alone in sixth place on 286 with England’s Peter Townsend, Australia’s David Good and Welshman, Craig Defoy all occupying seventh place on one under par 279.

The £500 Hardy Wine Super Seniors prize, awarded to the leading golfer in his 60s, was won by South Africa's Bobby Verwey.

Verwey, Gary Player's brother-in-law, closed with a one over par 73 for a four round aggregate of one under par 289, one shot ahead of Canada's Bill Hardwick and three clear of the evergreen Neil Coles.

Two other men celebrating the outcome were England’s Steve Wild and Scotland’s Iain Clark who finished with 76 and 72 respectively, finishing in a tie for 10th place and claiming the last places in next week’s lucrative £500,000 Welsh Seniors Open at Royal St David’s in Harlech.

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