England’s Peter Mitchell withstood a strong challenge from Scotland’s Sam Torrance to win his second European Seniors Tour title of the season at the Scottish Seniors Open over the East course at the Marriott Dalmahoy Hotel & Country Club near Edinburgh.
Mitchell, who won his maiden Seniors Tour title at the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open earlier this summer, started the day two shots in front of Torrance but found himself one behind the former Ryder Cup captain at the turn before carding three birdies over the next four holes to open a lead he was never to relinquish.
In the end, a three-time European Tour winner from Kent, who carded 12 birdies over his closing 36 holes, posted a nine under par 54-hole aggregate of 207, two shots ahead of Torrance and three in front of first round leader Des Smyth who slipped to a closing 71.
The win was Mitchell’s second in his first eight starts as a Senior and the €42,931 (£33,750) first place cheque took his earnings to the season to €185,082 (£145,500).
It also moved him up from seventh to fifth on the Order of Merit behind Ian Woosnam, Bernhard Langer, Gordon J. Brand and Juan Quiros.
“It was tough out there today,” said Mitchell. “I started pretty scrappily and then, when Sam got in front, I really had to battle to get back at him.
“The last seven holes were pretty hard work,” he added. “But I hung in there and am delighted to win again.
“The great thing is that I putted a lot better today and that’s probably the key to the win.”
Torrance arrived at Dalmahoy not having won since the Bendinat London Seniors Masters last June but equalled Mitchell’s closing 69 to produce his best performance of the season to date.
“I’m disappointed, of course I am,” he said, before departing for St Andrews where he is scheduled to play alongside son, Daniel, in this week’s Dunhill Links Championship. “But the good news is that I played better so I’m looking forward to showing the youngsters on the regular Tour a thing or two.”
Earlier in the day, England’s Tommy Horton brought his illustrious European Seniors Tour to an impressive close when he carded a one under par 71 to finish the championship in a share of 19th place on three over par 219.
67 year-old Horton has won a record 23 titles and well over €1.5 million (£1 million) since turning 50 back in 1991 but has decided to call it a day while he remains competitive.
“It has been a tough decision but I’m sure it’s the correct one,” said the former Ryder Cup player from Jersey who has claimed 107 top-ten finishes in 240 starts on the Seniors Tour and won the Tour’s Order of Merit title on a record five occasions.
“I started to think about it a couple of years ago when I had a bout of ill-health and now it feels as if the time is about right.
“I still plan to play my home event in Jersey but for the rest of the time I’ll sit back and watch the younger guys battling it out.
“It’s been great fun,” he added. “I’m just grateful to have got a second bite of the cherry.”
Carl Mason, the Seniors Tour Order of Merit winner in 2003, ’04 and ’07, led the tributes to Horton.
“I think it would be fair to say that we will all miss Tommy,” said the Englishman whose 20 victories put him second behind Horton in the tally of all-time Seniors Tour wins. “He’s been a fantastic player and a great supporter of this Tour.
“It’s going to be strange to be out here without him.”
Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Tour, also paid tribute to Horton for what he has done for the Tour : “Tommy is our most prolific winner, but on another level, he has also made a huge contribution behind the scenes, both as one of the Tour’s pioneers and as a former Chairman of the Players’ Committee.
“It would be no exaggeration to say that he has played a vital role in our development over the years.”