America’s Bob Boyd produced a blistering birdie, eagle, par finish to overtake Spain’s Jose Rivero and England’s Jim Rhodes and claim his first Seniors Tour title at the Castellon Costa Azahar Open de España at Club de Campo del Mediterraneo
The 50 year old from Wilmington, North Carolina, was behind both his nearest rivals as he left the 15th green but a birdie on the 160 yard par three 16th and an eagle on the 526 yard par five 17th enabled him to make up that deficit and a par on the last gave him a one stroke victory on eleven under par 205
Rivero and Rhodes both matched Boyd’s closing round of one under par 71 to finish on ten under par 210 while France’s Gery Watine stormed through the field with a closing 67 to claim fourth place one shot further behind.
“This is a dream come true for me,” said Boyd after signing for his 71. “When I first came over here after my 50th birthday in late July I didn’t know if I could make enough money to keep my card.
“Today all I was thinking about was improving my Order of Merit position but now I’ve got a two year exemption so I can relax and enjoy the rest of the season.
“I didn’t play all that well today but I did just enough to beat Jim and Jose,” he added.
“That finish is something I will remember for a long time to come.”
Rivero has now posted top-three finishes in both of his first two starts on the Seniors Tour. He claimed a share of third place on his debut at last week’s Bendinat London Seniors Masters and went one better in front of his home fans at the Club de Campo del Mediterraneo.
“I enjoyed it but I couldn’t do quite enough to match Bob,” said the former Ryder Cup star from Madrid. “I made a crucial mistake when I made bogey on the 16th but you’ve got to give credit to Bob because he produced a great finish just when he needed it. There’s no doubt he is a worthy champion.”
Rhodes dropped two shots on the treacherous 160 yard par three 16th and a birdie on the 17th was not enough to repair the damage. Nevertheless his 71 gave him his best finish since winning the Nigel Mansell Sunseeker International Classic in July.
“Things just didn’t go my way,” he said. “I made a mess of the 16th and that let Bob back into the tournament. Then when he got his eagle on the 17th the writing was on the wall.”
“It’s been a great tournament,” he added, “and a credit to the host club.”
English Former Ryder Cup player, Malcolm Gregson, won the €1,750 Hardys Wines Super Seniors prize awarded to the leading competitor aged 60 and over. The Englishman closed with a two under par 70 for a four under par aggregate of 212 and a three stroke victory over Maurice Bembridge.
England’s Carl Mason closed with a level par 72 that saw him finish in a tie for 15th place alongside Bruce Heuchan, Nick Job, Gavan Levenson and D.J Russell. That result means that he has extended his Order of Merit lead over Scotland’s Sam Torrance but not by enough to confirm top spot for the third season in succession.
The battle for the Order of Merit title seems certain to go right to the wire with both Mason and Torrance competing in the forthcoming Algarve Seniors Open of Portugal (October 7-9) and the Arcapita Seniors Tour Championship in Bahrain (November 10-12).