Friday, 18 January 2019
Roger Chapman on the beach in Seychelles   (Getty Images)
Roger Chapman on the beach in Seychelles (Getty Images)

Six and a half years is a long time in any sport, let alone one in which there is an opportunity to win multiple times in a season.

Roger Chapman joined the over-50s ranks in 2009 and enjoyed the most successful three months of his career in 2012 as he became a two-time Senior Major Champion, winning the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship and U.S. Senior Open – becoming the first person since Hale Irwin 14 years previously to win both Championships in the same season.

Chapman became the first European to win the Senior PGA Championship and, after his U.S. Senior Open victory, he also became the first European to win both Championships.

More than 2,000 days after that memorable victory at Indianwood Golf & Country Club, Chapman started the final round of the MCB Tour Championship – Seychelles seven strokes behind Miguel Angel Martín. The gap would have been eight if not for a fantastic eagle on the 18th hole to move to three under par.

The fact he came through to win on the final day in Seychelles goes to highlight the grit and determination that Chapman has relied upon so often during his professional career.

After a dozen runner-up finishes around the world, six of them on the European Tour, he secured his first title at the Brazil Rio de Janeiro 500 Years Open - his 472nd start. He had lost two play-offs prior to this, the first against Des Smyth on the fifth extra hole, and the second to José María Olazábal, who was taken to nine extra holes by Ronan Rafferty.

But when faced against the recently-announced 2020 Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington, Chapman still believed – defeating the Irishman on the second extra hole.

That is why this comeback in Seychelles should come as no surprise. But the way he completed it was textbook – especially after returning from shoulder surgery earlier in the year.

On a golf course fraught with hazards, Chapman calmly played his way round, making the turn two under par, closing the gap on Martín who found trouble on the front nine to three strokes.

Meanwhile, Phillip Price was on a tear. He carded five birdies on the back nine, including four consecutive from the 14th to 17th holes, and the Welshman held the clubhouse lead on six under par – finishing half an hour before Chapman.

After striking his tee shot to within inches of the pin on the par three 17th, Chapman drew level with Price on six under par – and the pair waited for Martín to complete his round.

Unfortunately for the Spaniard, a wayward tee shot on the formidable par five 18th ended his title hopes. Leaving Chapman and Price to battle it out for the title. 

Such is the standard on the Staysure Tour, both players found the green in two, with Chapman 25 feet from the pin. A perfectly read, and executed putt, rolled from left to right, and gave Chapman his second eagle of the week on the 18th.

Price pulled his eagle putt to the left, giving Chapman his first victory since the 2012 U.S. Senior Open and rubberstamping the biggest final round catch-up by a winner in 2018.

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