One word comes to mind when looking back at Stephen Dodd’s wire-to-wire victory at the WINSTONgolf Senior Open — dominant.
The Welshman opened the popular event in style by birdieing exactly half of the WINSTONlinks Course, against just a single bogey, to card his lowest round of the season, an eight under par 64, which opened a four-stroke lead straight out of the gates.
The birdie barrage continued on Day Two as Dodd poured in another six, but this time, kept the scorecard clean — once again signing for the low-round of the day, a six under par 66, to take a sizeable seven shot lead into the final round.
As fate would have it, the three-time European Tour winner celebrated his 52nd birthday on the day of the final round. Despite the big lead, the fans’ expectation of a win, coupled with the pressure of closing out a tournament was evident from the start, and by the time Dodd made the turn his lead had been reduced from seven to three by an on-form Jean-François Remesy, who had won the previous week in Switzerland.
When Dodd bogeyed the tenth, it seemed as though his hard work over the previous two days might be for naught. However, the two-time Staysure Tour winner appeared unflappable, and when he stuffed his approach into the par three 11th and then converted his birdie, the Dodd of the previous two days instantly appeared to be back.Adding two more birdies on the next three holes, the Cardiff native rebuilt his lead and marched to an eventual six-stroke win, and a champagne shower, on his birthday. The win marked the third consecutive year he claimed a Staysure Tour victory and propelled him to a third place finish on the Order of Merit, where he has not finished outside the top ten since joining Europe’s top over-50s circuit.