Barry Lane carded a two under par final round of 70 to claim his fourth European Senior Tour title in the Speedy Services Wales Senior Open, as Philip Golding missed out on a maiden win by one shot for a second week in a row.
Lane, who began one shot behind overnight leader Golding, produced a stunning four iron approach shot from 175 yards to six inches on the 17th hole to give himself a two shot cushion over the Englishman going into the final hole.
After Lane’s chip on the 18th ran eight feet past, Golding had the chance to put pressure on him with a 12ft birdie putt, but he left it agonisingly short, and although Lane missed his par putt, he was left with a tap-in for bogey to finish on seven under par 209 and seal his first victory of the 2012 season.
“It’s a very good standard out here, so it’s always nice to get a win,” said Lane. “It’s never easy and it wasn’t today with Phil and Peter Fowler pushing me all the way.
“No-one was really pulling away and then I hit such a great shot into the 17th which gave me a nice cushion into 18. It was always going to be one or two shots in it, and it was always going to come down to those final three holes which are so tough.
“I’ve not won since Casa Serena last year in the Czech Republic and I’ve watched a few of the guys win twice, so it was good to get a victory. I’ve played pretty well this year so it’s nice to get the reward.”
The victory at Conwy (Caernarvonshire) Golf Club caps a superb run of form for the former Ryder Cup player, who is now €103,681 behind Roger Chapman on the Senior Tour Order of Merit.
Lane finished tied third in The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex last month and tied eighth in last week’s SSE Scottish Senior Open Championship, where his bid for three consecutive victories in the event was scuppered after his clubs were delayed in transit, limiting his practice at Fairmont St Andrews.
There was no such misfortune on the north Wales coast as the 52 year old safely negotiated each hole in par on the front nine. That meant he reached the turn level with Golding, who had carded a record breaking third consecutive 64 in the first round, after the Englishman dropped shots on the first and second holes, before his first birdie of the day on the fourth.
Lane had to wait until the tenth hole to card his first birdie, with Golding also beginning his back nine by picking up a shot.
Golding then surrendered a share of the lead with a bogey on the 11th, and Lane took full advantage with a birdie on the 12th to open up a two shot lead.
While Golding pulled a shot back on the 16th, Lane’s majestic approach to the 17th proved the difference, meaning Golding had to settle for second place for the second consecutive week, having finished runner up to Anders Forsbrand in the SSE Scottish Senior Open last Sunday.
“I got off to a poor start bogey the first and the third hole,” said Golding, who signed for a level par 72. “I had hoped to make a few birdies early on, but Barry played lovely and he had a career shot to 17.
“I’ve played the 17th hole poorly in the last two tournaments now. I dropped three shots on that hole in the first two rounds here, and last week in Scotland I took seven on the 17th there, so the number 17 has not been kind to me.
“Obviously I’m disappointed, but its two second place finishes in two events at the start of my Senior Tour career and a course record here again this week. So you have to take the positives.
“My aim was to get in the top 18 on the Order of Merit for the end of the season and I’m 17th now, so it’s been a good start.”
Forsbrand, who last week became the first Swede to win on the Senior Tour, closed with a three under par 69 to finish joint third on four under par 212, alongside Australian Fowler, the man who beat Lane to last year’s Order of Merit, who carded a level par 72.
Welshman Mark Mouland carded a one over par 73 to lie one shot further back in a share of fourth place with Englishman Paul Wesselingh.
Chapman, the US Senior PGA and US Senior Open champion, closed with a level par 72 to finish in a share of 15th position on one over par in the tournament sponsored by his own sponsor, Speedy Services.
Home favourite Ian Woosnam, the former World Number One who was runner up to Peter Mitchell on the Senior Tour’s last visit to Conwy four years ago, finished down the field in tied 29th position.
Having started the day four shots off the pace, Woosnam’s challenge was ended by back-to-back bogeys on the fifth and sixth holes followed by a double bogey on the seventh hole and another double bogey on the ninth as he carded a final round 78 to finish on four over par.