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Friday, 19 March 2010
Spain's Manuel Piñero becomes the latest in a long line of former Ryder Cup golfers to join the European Seniors Tour when he tees up against a strong international field at this week's GIN Monte Carlo Invitational at the Monte Carlo Golf Club.

Piñero, who turned 50 on September 1, is the latest recruit to attempt to win on his first appearance on the Seniors Tour. That feat was last achieved in 1995 when South Africa's John Bland won on his first time out at the London Masters at the London Club.

Shortly afterwards, the former European Tour stalwart then crossed the Atlantic where he won the Ralph's Seniors Classic on the US Senior Tour in his rookie season.

Piñero, who was born in Badajoz but now lives in Madrid, comes Into the Seniors Tour with the reputation as one of the most successful Continental golfers in recent years.

The Spaniard won nine titles on The European Tour International Schedule between 1974 and 1985 and also teamed up with Seve Ballesteros and José Maria Cañizares to win two World Cups in 1976 and 1982.

Almost two decades later, Piñero makes his Seniors Tour debut in Monte Carlo against a strong field that also includes nine-time Major Champion, Gary Player, and two former Champions, John Grace and Tommy Horton.

Seven of this season's previous winners, Delroy Cambridge, Ray Carrasco, Bernard Gallacher, Steve Stull, Dragon Taki, Peter Townsend and Gary Wintz are also in attendance.

The 2001 Monte Carlo Invitational had to be cancelled at the last minute as a result of the atrocities perpetrated on September 11. However, 12 months before,  America's John Grace provided an outstanding finish when he closed with a four under par 65 to finish on eight under par 199, five shots ahead of England's Maurice Bembridge and six in front of two other Englishmen, David Creamer and Jim Rhodes.

Grace's performance made him just the fifth man in European Seniors Tour history to finish a 54-hole event with an aggregate of under 200, emulating Brian Waites and Denis O'Sullivan (1988 Elf Seniors Open), Bob Shearer (1999 Bad Ragaz Seniors Open) and David Oakley (2000 De Vere Hotels Seniors Classic). Scotland's subsequently joined this exclusive club, posting a total of 198 to win the 2001 Bad Ragaz Seniors Open.

Grace also followed in the footsteps of Englishmen, Tommy Horton and John Morgan by becoming just the third golfer in Seniors Tour history to win three times in a single Seniors Tour season, a feat emulated by Japan's Seiji Ebihara earlier this year.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1DURNIAN, DenisENG18-4
2MORGAN, JohnENG18Par
T3MILLER, MikeSCO184
T3PLAYER, GaryRSA184
5HORTON, TommyENG188
6GARRIDO, AntonioESP1810
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