Sunday, 30 March 2008

Australia’s Stewart Ginn surged through the field to capture his first European Seniors Tour title with a two shot win from England’s Nick Job at the inaugural Azores Senior Open.

Ginn, who hails from Melbourne but is based in Kuala Lumpur, started the day at Batalha Golf Club five shots off the lead held by Scotland’s Martin Gray, but steadily set about reducing the deficit with five birdies en route to a round of 68.

As Gray’s challenge faltered with a glut of bogeys and Job came unstuck with a three putt on the final green when needing a birdie to take the tournament to a play-off, Ginn finally tasted victory after nine years of trying.       

The 59 year old had some words of consolation for Gray, saying: “I do feel for Martin, because he played so well over the first couple of days. It’s not a nice feeling. We’ve all been there, and I’m sure he’ll come back from it even stronger.

“But it’s probably about time I won. I’ve finished second more times than I can remember, so it was just a case of getting over the line today. I’ve played nicely all week, but the difference today was that I sunk a few putts. I picked up a few birdies after the turn, and it was then I knew I had a chance of winning.

“Sadly I won’t be able to celebrate properly tonight, because I’ve got to catch an early flight tomorrow. But I’m sure I’ll have a few drinks when I get home. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the tournament, and I’d like to congratulate Nick and all the other guys for playing so well today.”

Job’s round of 71 saw him finish the tournament on three under par, two shots clear of Argentina’s Luis Carbonetti, Seniors Tour debutant Domingo Hospital of Spain, and Italy’s Costantino Rocca, who shot a 69.

Earlier in the day, England’s Bob Larratt set a new course record with a six under par round of 66.

Larratt, the professional at Kibworth Golf Club in Leicester, carded seven birdies and a solitary bogey to break the record held jointly by Canada’s Brad Fritsch and America’s PJ Cowan, who both shot rounds of 67.

After feeling the effects of bronchitis the 55 year old struggled with his game through the first two days, but was delighted to finish the tournament on a positive note.

He said: “A round of 66 is always pleasing, but more so on a tough course like this. I decided to be much more positive and attack the flags today, and got the rewards. Perhaps if the tournament had lasted another day I might’ve had a chance of winning it!”

Another man with reason to celebrate was Spain’s Jose Rivero, whose reward for his hole-in-one at the eighth yesterday is to receive 200 bottles of wine – one for every yard of the hole – courtesy of sponsors Hardys.

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