A stunning final round of seven under par helped Santiago Luna charge through the field to lift the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship on a dramatic final day at the Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa.
Luna started his final round two strokes behind leader Steen Tinning of Denmark but he finished the day at the top of the pile after a masterful performance saw him put together an eagle, six birdies and just a single dropped shot to take the €46,304 first prize.
“It feels very nice to have won today,” smiled Luna. “I played so good today – I was relaxed and happy on the golf course and that is what helped me a lot today, along with a very well behaved putter!”
Tinning looked likely to run away with the title as the final round got underway and the Dane birdied the fourth and fifth to race four shots clear. But as the round progressed the chasing pack roared with Welshman Mark Mouland making a great charge at the lead with three birdies and an eagle in his closing 11 holes to post his own 64 and set the clubhouse target at ten under.
As Tinning made back-to-back bogeys on the 11th and 12th, Luna birdied the 12th and then the 14th to take the lead for the first time, but Tinning responded brilliantly by following Luna’s birdie with an eagle on the par five 14th to level the scores.
The tournament was now a two-horse race not dissimilar to the battle these two players enjoyed at last year’s English Senior Open where Tinning emerged the victor. This time, it was to be the Spaniard’s day as he made the only eagle three of the day at par five 16th to land what would be the decisive blow.
That moved Luna two clear and when Tinning birdied the same hole, the Dane needed to find a birdie or hope for a mistake from his rival to keep his hopes alive. Luna was solid as a rock, making two pars and leaving Tinning no option but to chase the final pin which resulted in a bogey at the last.
It was undoubtedly Luna’s day, and who could deny the affable Spaniard after such a brilliant final round.
“I tried not to look at what Steen or the other guys were doing – I always feel that if you cannot control what the other people are doing then there is no point in knowing what they are doing,” said Luna, who moves to fifth in the Senior Tour Order of Merit.
“It means a lot to win such a big title on the Senior Tour and I have to be honest and say that I probably did not expect to win because everyone else at the top of the leaderboard were playing very good golf.
“But when you shot 64 in the final round then you are going to have a chance and thankfully it was my day. It’s also very nice to win this week because my wife is here to enjoy it with m – she wasn’t with me when I won in Scotland last year so it has been a special week for us both.”