Friday, 19 March 2010

Sam Torrance celebrated his 40th victory as a professional in front of his home fans in the Charles Church Scottish Seniors Open at Marriott Dalmahoy Hotel & Country Club.

The former Ryder Cup Captain closed with a round of 70 for a winning 54-hole aggregate of three under par 213, beating fellow Scot Bill Longmuir (71) by a shot.

A third Scot, Mike Miller, shared third spot on one under par after closing with a round of 73. Also finishing on that mark were John Bland and Bertus Smit of South Africa, who scored 69 and 70 respectively, and the English duo of Glenn Ralph (71) and David J Russell (69).

The €44,373 (£30,000) first prize represented Torrance’s fourth title on the 2006 European Seniors Tour and his third victory on Dalmahoy’s East Course, following triumphs in the Scottish PGA Championship in 1993 and 1985.

It also extended his lead over Eduardo Romero at the top of the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit to more than €66,000 with five events of the season remaining.

Torrance said: “It is great to win in my home country. I have great support up here so this is a wee bit more special than my other wins this year.

“I am obviously in a good position with the Order of Merit, but I don’t know how many more events Eduardo is going to play. I would love to win it again, so I am going to keep pushing. We have Woburn next week and that is a course I love.”

It was a massive turnaround from Friday when Torrance ended the first round in a share of 45th place after struggling with his broom-handled putter in strong winds to a four over par 76.

He stormed back into contention with a 67, the lowest score carded by anyone on Saturday, and completed the job with a mixed round that contained an eagle, five birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey.

The Largs golfer was out in four under par 31 but found the East Course’s testing back nine, strengthened further by the swirling wind, a different proposition and came home in 39.

Longmuir also struggled. After birdieing the tenth, the 2004 Scottish Seniors Open champion covered the next five holes in five over – a terrible run that included three three-putts – and with that went his chance.

Torrance, with two shots in hand playing the last, took a three wood for safety off the 18th tee, knowing he would then not be able to reach the green in two, and completed a bogey that sealed a one-shot victory.

“I have just handed it to Sam on a plate,” said a despondent Longmuir. “I have putted so badly this year that I don’t think I can make anything from anywhere, and that is a horrible feeling. It is breaking my heart.”

Juan Quiros, the overnight leader by one, saw his challenge collapse around the turn. After failing to get up and down at the severely testing par four ninth, the Spaniard’s frustrations got the better of him and he took a double-bogey seven at the next – a hole where most were making four.

He eventually limped home in 76 for a share of eighth place on one over, alongside fellow Spaniard José Rivero, who closed with a 74.

There was joy for England’s Denis Durnian, winner of this event in 2002, when he holed his six iron tee shot at the fourth to walk off with 144 bottles of Hardys wine – one for every yard of the hole.

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