Ironman Steen Tinning lasted the distance at the Berenberg Masters to secure his debut European Senior Tour title in only his sixth appearance.
The Dane signed for a flawless round of 69 for a nine under par aggregate total which was just enough to hold off a late surge from home hero Bernhard Langer, who delighted the locals at Golf- und Land-Club, in Cologne, with a blemish-free round of 68.
Having seen Langer fail to get up and down for birdie from the greenside bunker on the par five 18th hole, Tinning knew a closing par would be enough to secure victory and with it a cheque for €60,000, and he duly obliged to consign the German to the runner-up spot for the second weekend in a row.
Tinning’s ‘reward’ for his victory is a place in next weekend’s Ironman European Championship in south-west Germany, where he will swim 1.9kms, cycle 90kms and run 21.1kms.
“I’m only half-mad,” he joked, “because it’s only a half Ironman!
“But on a more serious note, I’m just so happy right now. Happy, and also a little bit relieved. My hands were shaking on that putt on the last, so I was very pleased to see it drop. I hit a lot of good putts today but none of them seemed to go in, so I just couldn’t pull away from the field early on.
“But I didn’t get frustrated, I stuck to the task and I executed it well. I managed to stay calm, because I knew I was playing well enough to win. I knew what I needed on the last hole because one of the volunteers told me Bernhard had made a par, so I used a five-wood from the tee, a six-iron for my second shot and then a chip and two putts. It sounds easy, but it definitely wasn’t!
“I’m surprised how quickly I’ve won on the Senior Tour. Most parts of my game have been pretty good, but I just haven’t been able to pull it all together. Luckily for me, this was my week. It feels even more special to beat Bernhard into second place, because he’s such a great competitor.”
For his part, Langer was typically magnanimous in defeat, labelling Tinning a worthy winner before bemoaning his own luck on the greens.
He said: “I played so much better than yesterday, but the difference today was that I just couldn’t get the putts to drop – I lost count of the lip-outs and near misses. I couldn’t have done any more, and I’m just sorry for the people that I came up a little bit short. But there’s no shame in finishing second, and hopefully I can come back next year and go one better.”
Langer’s cheque for €40,000 saw the two-time Masters Tournament winner move to €225,867 and extend his lead in the Senior Tour Order of Merit to €116,315, whilst Tinning climbed nine places to fourth with season’s earnings of €97,791.
England’s Nick Job also climbed into the top 20 of the Order of Merit after he finished in third place on seven under par courtesy of a closing round of 71, which was matched by Spaniard Miguel Angel Martin, who finished one stroke back in fourth place.
Ian Woosnam’s bid to win this event for the second time came up short after he laboured to a round of 73 to finish in a share of eighth place.