Sweden’s Magnus P Atlevi, second on the European Senior Tour Order of Merit, insists his best performances are still to come as he prepares for the Senior Italian Open presented by Villaverde Resort.
The 52 year old, winner of the 2016 Rookie of the Year Award, finished tied fifth at last week’s Travis Perkins Masters at Woburn, backing up a tied 14th result and two sixth-place finishes.
On his way to second place on last year’s Order of Merit, Atlevi won his first Senior Tour title at last year’s Paris Legends Championship exactly a year ago, and he is looking forward to the test of Golf Club Udine this week.
“It’s usually at the end of the summer that I feel as though my game is coming together, and I have that feeling again this year,” said Atlevi. “I’m second on the Order of Merit, but I’m a little surprised about that because I feel as though the best is still to come this season.
“There are still five events to go and I’m really looking forward to them. The Order of Merit is very much on my mind, just like everyone else who has a chance. There are still so many of us who can win it, but I’d like to improve on last year’s finish.
“I had a chance last week to win, but I didn’t finish off well. Now we have very different surroundings; the course, the turf and the conditions. It’s softer at the moment because of the rain they have had here and there are some new holes. Some of us will find it a little more difficult this time round.”
Atlevi trails South Africa’s Chris Williams, who currently leads the Order of Merit with earnings of more than €140,000. The 59 year old kick-started his season with victory at the Sharjah Senior Masters presented by Shurooq and has not looked back, finishing tied third, tied fifth and fourth in his last three starts.
“Sharjah laid the foundation for what’s going on right now,” said Williams. “A win frees you up to play the kind of golf you can play and it takes the pressure off the rest of the year. “You see the pressure building in some of the guys and you can’t play how you’d like to.
“This season has been a great ride so far. I’m not too focussed on the Order of Merit though; I know it’s there, but there are five tournaments to go and anything can happen.”
Welshman Stephen Dodd is back in Italy to defend the title he won by one stroke last year, and is joined by home favourite Constantino Rocca and nine other former Ryder Cup players in the 54-man field.