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Friday, 19 March 2010
Scotland's Mike Miller won for the first time on the European Seniors Tour when he carded a level par round of 72 to claim a two shot victory at the inaugural Nigel Mansell Classic, presented by Sunseeker International, at Woodbury Park in Devon.

However, the 52 year-old from Torrrance, near Glasgow, had to survive a late scare after shanking his tee shot into the trees on the 366 yard 17th on his way to running up a double bogey six.

The Scot had come to the penultimate hole with a three shot lead but that was cut to one when he dropped back to 11 under par after that mishap. Nevertheless, he hit a fine six iron over the water onto the green on the treacherous 168 yard par three 18th and then calmly two-putted from 40 feet to finish two shots ahead of an international quintet comprising Delroy Cambridge, Denis Durnian, Terry Gale, Denis O'Sullivan and Ian Stanley.

The victory made him the third consecutive first-time winner on the Seniors Tour, following Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti at the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open in Switzerland and compatriot John Chillas at the Travis Perkins Senior Masters at Wentworth. The £22,500 winner’s cheque also doubled his earnings for the season, moving him up to 22nd on the Order of Merit with £41,995.

"There was a moment out there when I thought I had lost it," said the relieved Miller after signing his card. "On the 17th, I tried to drive a low iron down the fairway but I completely miscued it and shanked it straight into the trees.

"This means an awful lot to me," he added. "I have been wanting to win since I joined the Seniors Tour back at the start of 2001 and now that I have I feel great.

"The exemption also means I have got a job for the next two years which as got be to be good news too."

Playing partners, Durnian and Gale, both had chances to catch Miller coming down the last as did England's Ian Mosey who was tied with the Scot through 15 holes before carding consecutive double bogeys on the 486 yard 16th and the 366 yard 17th. He went on to record a level par 72 and finish in a share of seventh place alongside compatriot, Nick Job, the club professional at Richmond Golf Club in London.

Scotland's John Chillas also had a good tournament seven days after recording his first Seniors Tour victory at Wentworth. Chillas recorded a 68 to finish in a share of ninth place alongside Jerry Bruner, Neville Clarke, Simon Owen and Steve Stull.

Meanwhile, host Nigel Mansell, saw his tournament end in disappointment when he carded a six over par 78 to finish well down the field on 223.

The former Formula 1 world champion and owner of Woodbury Park dropped two shots on the 563 yard par five second and four more after a catastrophic quadruple bogey on the 413 yard par four fourth before playing his remaining 14 holes in level par.

"It was just one of those days," said Mansell. "I hit a couple of loose shots and I got punished for them.

"It was still a lot of fun," he added. "Over the last few days I have noticed that the professionals manage the course much better than us amateurs so that's something I can learn from. Hopefully I will do better the next time I get a chance to play."

England's Neil Coles captured his second successive 1,500 Hardys Wines Super Seniors prize awarded to the leading competitor aged 60 or over.

The 68 year-old Englishman won last week's award when he closed with a 64 at the Travis Perkins Senior Masters at Wentworth and this time he fired a final round of two under par 70 to finish on two under par 214 and defeat Malcolm Gregson by five shots.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1JOB, NickENG18-8
T2MASON, CarlENG18-3
T2LONGMUIR, BillSCO18-3
4COLES, NeilENG18-2
5DASSU, BaldovinoITA181
6MILLER, MikeSCO18-11
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