Australia's Ian Stanley heads into this week's Dan Technology Senior Tournament of Champions at Mere G & CC knowing that a third win of the season would all but confirm his place as Number One on the 2001 European Seniors Tour Order of Merit.
But Stanley, a 52 year old former European Tour winner from Melbourne, is also well aware he cannot afford any slip ups if he is to succeed fellow countryman, Noel Ratcliffe, and become the second successive Australian to win the John Jacobs Trophy, awarded annually to the leader of the Order of Merit.
After a total of 17 events so far this season, Stanley, the winner of the De Vere PGA Seniors Championship and the Senior British Open, presented by MasterCard, goes into the Dan Technology event in first place in the Order of Merit with a record 259,766 euro (£162,501), but he is still only a mere 13,352 euro (£8,352) ahead his nearest rival, England's Denis Durian, and with a first prize of 39,962 euro (£25,000) up for grabs at Mere there is still much to play for.
Local Cheshire man Durnian won the bulk of his 246,414 euro (£154,149) while capturing the lucrative Wales Seniors Open at Royal St David's back at the start of June. He lost his lead at the top of the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit a little more than a month later when Stanley succeeded the absent Christy O'Connor Jnr as the 2001 Senior British Open champion but has since been battling hard to catch up, often finishing ahead of his Australian rival at subsequent tournaments.
Both men will have their eyes firmly fixed on this week's 39,962 euro (£25,000) first prize but to win it they will have to overcome three double winners on this year's circuit, namely Noel Ratcliffe (Beko Seniors and De Vere Hotels Seniors Classic), David Oakley (Energis Senior Masters and Scottish Seniors Open) and defending champion Denis O'Sullivan (Palmerston Trophy Berlin and STC Scandinavian International).
Also in action will be Priscillo Diniz, Nick Job, David Good and Russell Weir, all of whom have also won on this season's European Seniors Tour.