England’s Carl Mason won his 20th European Seniors Tour title when he successfully defended the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open in Switzerland by finishing two clear of Scot Bill Longmuir.
After the record-equalling low round of 61 on Saturday, Mason followed up with a final round of 65 for a 15 under par total of 195, two ahead of Longmuir, who refused to give in against the Mason onslaught and eventually signed for a 66 and aggregate of 197.
Mason’s win made him only the second player to claim 20 European Seniors Tour titles and moved him within three of Tommy Horton’s record of 23 victories.
“Number 20!” said Mason. “When I started out I never imagined anything like this. In my first season in 2003 I won my second event and then played so well at the Senior Open Championship that year, and although I lost a play-off (to Tom Watson), it gave me so much confidence I haven’t looked back.”
Mason, leading by one overnight, birdied three of his first four holes to pull three clear of Longmuir but by the seventh they were on level terms with Longmuir picking up two birdies on the fifth and sixth to a Mason bogey on the fifth.
The momentum swung in Mason’s favour as they turned for home when Longmuir, who bogeyed the ninth, double bogeyed the 11th as Mason birdied the first two holes of the back nine. Mason was suddenly five ahead but still Scot refused to give in, hitting back with a birdie on the 13th and an eagle on the 16th. Mason followed him in for birdie on 16 to stay three ahead and matched Longmuir’s birdie on the 17th, giving him a comfortable cushion so a bogey on the last was irrelevant.
“It was a good battle,” said Mason. “I got off to a good start and while Bill fought back, his double bogey on the 11th gave me some space. But he wasn’t letting go and I was glad to get over the line.”
Twelve months ago Mason’s win in Switzerland started a run which saw him win three events out of four and four out of seven as he stormed to his third Order of Merit title in five years.
“Hopefully I can get on one of those runs now,” he said. “I have been frustrated with my game this year when it has not been going well but I hope this will kick start my year.”
Victory earned Mason €39,000 and lifted him from 34th to 14th on the Order of Merit. Longmuir moved up a place to fourth with Ian Woosnam still topping the list.