Tim Thelen secured his maiden Senior Tour victory in the most thrilling fashion with a final round that included an albatross and a rampaging finish to hold of the challenges of some of the senior game’s biggest names at the Berenberg Bank Masters.
With 2011 Senior Tour Numbers One and Two Peter Fowler and Barry Lane, Mark Mouland and the legendary Bernhard Langer piling on the back nine pressure, Thelen produced three birdies in his closing four holes to card a four under par 68 and slam the door closed on his first victory to secure the €60,000 first prize at the Golfclub Wörthsee in Munich.
“I can’t actually put it into words what this means to me,” said Thelen after being presented with the Berenberg Masters trophy by tournament Ambassador Gary Player.
“To beat these guys – real legends of the game – makes it so special to win here. It feels amazing and I actually can’t believe it right now.
“Guys like Bernhard Langer, Barry Lane, Peter Fowler and Mark Mouland are real legends of the game. When you look at what they have done, what they have won around the world it really puts in into perspective.
“I have won once in my career so I can’t really hold myself up against those guys, but it feel pretty good right now to have come out on top here today.”
The modest Thelen may have a point when analysing the careers of his nearest final round challengers, but for four hours on Sunday afternoon the 51 year old American outplayed them all.
His final round simply could not have got off to a better start as he holed out his perfect six iron approach from 192 yards for an albatross two on the par five.
He suffered an immediate set-back with a double bogey at the next hole, but he steadied the ship after a birdie on the third and, after back-to-back bogeys on the fifth and sixth, he played some stunning golf, holing 20 foot birdie putts on the ninth and tenth before that storming finish of three birdies in his closing holes secured him a three shot victory over Fowler, Lane and Mouland, with Langer a further shot back on 11 under.
“It was so tight out there all day that all I could really do was try to concentrate on my game and not give it up,” said Thelen, who moves to fifth place in the Senior Tour Order of Merit.
“Even when Mark chipped in for eagle on the 12th to go two ahead I still felt I had a chance if I could make some birdies. Obviously I managed to do that and then we had the two shot swing on 15 with Mark making bogey to my birdie, so after that I just got the head down and tried to make some birdies.
“As I said before, this still doesn’t seem believable – someone might have to come up and slap me just to make sure this has happened. It has been a great tournament for everyone, and to win this event is very special.”