Carl Mason won his fifth European Seniors Tour title of the season when he closed with a three over par 75 in blustery conditions to claim the ADT English Seniors Open at Formby Hall in Merseyside.
The 51 year-old Englishman started the final round five shots clear of his nearest rivals but dropped a series of shots during the second nine saw him finish with a three shot advantage on three under par aggregate of 216.
Scotland’s John Chillas closed with a fine one under par 71 to share second place with England’s Bob Cameron on level par 216 while Argentina’s Louis Carbonetti, Ireland’s Eamonn Darcy, Australia’s Terry Gale, Canada’s Bruce Heuchan and England’s Ian Mosey all tied for fourth on two shots further behind.
Mason arrived at Formby Hall having already won the Tobago Plantation Seniors Classic, the AIB Irish Seniors Open, the De Vere PGA Seniors Championship and the Daily Telegraph European Seniors Match Play and he added a fifth title to that illustrious list with a gutsy performance in winds gusting up to 20 miles per hour.
The former Scottish Open champion had fired seven birdies in a second round 67 and he started where he left off with a birdie on the 493-yard par-5 third hole. He also birdied the 381-yard par-4 fourth and the 467-yard par-4 fifth but then dropped two shots on the 393-yard par-4 eighth and another on the 384-yard par-4 ninth.
The Englishman’s back nine could best be described as a mixed bag. He did birdie the tenth and 13th but four dropped shots at the 13th, 14th and 15th meant that he was on tenterhooks right to the end.
“The back nine was horrendous,” said Mason after collecting the 33,154 euro (£22,500) first prize. “The conditions were tough and each time I dropped a shot I felt a little bit more under pressure. “I never felt as good as I did in the second round but at least I got the job done.
“It’s great to win again,” he added. “It’s becoming a habit and it’s a nice one to have.”
Chillas’ 71 meant that he secured his fourth second place finish in succession. “It’s been a good run but I have to admit I missed a couple of short putts that might have made a difference. “Maybe it will be my turn next week,” he added.
Mason was not the only Seniors Tour member in the news at Formby Hall. Former Ryder Cup star Neil Coles celebrated his 70th birthday with a one over par 73 less than twelve hours after being accorded Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour in recognition of his services to the Tour.
Coles started the final round looking as if he would beat his age for the fourth time in his illustrious career. He birdied the second, fifth and ninth to race to the turn in three under par 33 but then dropped four shots coming down the stretch.
“I was a shame because it would have been nice to beat my age on my 70th birthday,” said the man who holds a world record for having won at least one professional event in six different decades. “I hit the ball nicely but just couldn’t keep it going. Maybe that’s what happens when you get to my age.”
England’s John Morgan won the Hardys Wines Super Seniors prize awarded to the leading competitor aged 60 or over. Morgan closed with a four over par 74 to finish two shots ahead of Canada’s Bill Hardwick on eight over par 224. Coles finished third in the Super Seniors category on eleven over par 227.