Friday, 03 November 2017
The MCB Tour Championship and John Jacobs Trophies  (Getty Images)
The MCB Tour Championship and John Jacobs Trophies (Getty Images)

For the first time since 2013, the European Senior Tour Order of Merit will be decided at the final event of the season, the MCB Tour Championship. Here are the seven hopefuls still in with a chance of winning the coveted John Jacobs Trophy…

Clark Dennis

Current position: First (€202,583)

With a lead of more than €25,000, Clark Dennis is in pole position to become the first American in history to finish at the top of the European Senior Tour Order of Merit.

The 51 year old successfully negotiated Senior Tour Qualifying School at Pestana Golf Resort in February, and immediately found his feet this side of the Atlantic Ocean, recording a top 20 finish at the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq.

After Sharjah, he finished tied fourth, tied third and tied fifth in regular events, and almost secured his maiden Senior Tour title at the Travis Perkins Masters. However, the following week he went one better than his runner up finish at Woburn and defeated Peter Fowler in a play-off at the Senior Italian Open presented by Villaverde Resort. Two events later, he won his second title at the Dutch Masters, overtaking Chris Williams at the top of the Order of Merit in the process, where he remains heading into the season finale.

Will win the John Jacobs Trophy if:
First or outright runner-up

Chris Williams

Current position: Second (€177,384, €25,199 behind Dennis)

The South African is enjoying his best season on the Senior Tour since 2010, and Williams kick-started his year in the best possible style, winning the inaugural Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq.

It was his first victory on the Senior Tour since 2011, topping the early-season Order of Merit and automatically guaranteeing his card for the 2018 season. Williams has admitted that victory in the Middle East took the pressure off for the rest of the year, allowing him to play his best golf.

In the five regular events between the WINSTONgolf Senior Open and Senior Italian Open presented by Villaverde Resort, Williams remarkably finished inside the top five at each event with a combined total of 38 under par.

Will win the John Jacobs Trophy if:
First, and Dennis finishes third or lower
Outright Second, and Dennis finishes sixth or lower
Outright Third, and Dennis finishes 19th or lower 

Philip Golding

Current position: Third (€160,475, €42,108 behind Dennis)

Similarly to Dennis, Philip Golding has won twice on the Senior Tour in 2017, doubling his total victories on the over-50s circuit in the space of three months.

Golding’s previous best finish on the Order of Merit was fourth in 2014, but the Englishman has finished inside the top six every year since 2013.  

The Englishman has posted most of his lowest scores in the final rounds of tournaments this season, including a seven under par closing 63 at the Swiss Seniors Open, which he won by one stroke, and a two under par finishing 70 around the testing Duke’s Course at Woburn en route to his Travis Perkins Masters victory.

Will win the John Jacobs Trophy if:
First, and Dennis finishes fourth or lower
Outright Second, and Williams finishes fourth or lower and Dennis finishes 33rd or lower 

Magnus P Atlevi (right) receiving the Rookie of the Year award from David MacLaren, Head of the European Senior Tour

Also in the race are 2016 Rookie of the Year Magnus P Atlevi, 2011 John Jacobs Trophy winner Peter Fowler, former Ryder Cup player Barry Lane and defending John Jacobs Trophy holder Paul Broadhurst. All four would have to win the MCB Tour Championship and hope that other permutations go their way. Atlevi finished second on the Order of Merit last year and stands the best chance of the four in going one better this year.

Just €100 separates Fowler and Lane on the Order of Merit, and each golfer still stands a chance of lifting the John Jacobs Trophy. For this to happen, they need to finish the day with the trophy in hand and hope that Williams and Dennis finish no higher than third or ninth respectively.

In defence of the John Jacobs Trophy, Broadhurst, who has won twice this season, would need to finish first and hope that Williams finishes third and Dennis finishes tenth.

With everything still to play for, the MCB Tour Championship is sure to bring a thrilling close to the 2017 European Senior Tour season. 

Atlevi

Current position: Fourth (€153,238, €49,345 behind Dennis)

Will win the John Jacobs Trophy if:
First, and Williams finishes third or lower and Dennis finishes sixth or lower

Fowler

Current position: Fifth (€147,216, €55,367 behind Dennis)

Will win the John Jacobs Trophy if:
First, and Williams finishes third or lower Dennis finishes ninth or lower

Lane

Current position: Sixth (€147,116, €55,467 behind Dennis)

Will win the John Jacobs Trophy if:
First, and Williams finishes third or lower and Dennis finishes ninth or lower

Broadhurst

Current position: Second (€144,950, €57,633 behind Dennis)

Will win the John Jacobs Trophy if:
First, and Williams finishes third or lower and Dennis finishes tenth or lower

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