My duties as a correspondent this year have not been good but as the season comes to an end in Europe, I am pleased to be able to file a report to look back over a great year for me!
Though there is still one tournament to be played on the European Seniors Tour (in Bahrain) I shall not be there as I am off to the States to try my luck in the final pre-qualifying for the Champions Tour. I was fortunate enough to qualify for the one exemption that is given to the first person in the top five of the Order of Merit who wants to take it. Sam Torrance and Carl Mason, 1st and 2nd respectively on the qualifying date, did not want to use it so it came down to me in 3rd place.
In total this year, I have had seven top five finishes, including a win at The Roxburgh! I have certainly played some of the best golf of my career, and managed to lay to rest a few gremlins in the process! Obviously the win in Scotland was the highlight of the season – it really came down to a two-horse race in the last round, as Jean Pierre Salat, a former French professional footballer, and I battled it out in what was essentially a match-play situation in some very unseasonal Scottish weather. The shot of the day for me was at the par 3 13th when, having put my tee shot in the water, I took a drop – and managed to hole the chip for 3! The only mistake that Jean Pierre made was at the 16th when he dropped a shot – and I managed to hang onto my one stroke lead for the next two holes.
Another memorable tournament was the Travis Perkins Senior Masters at Wentworth. I have never played my best golf over the Edinburgh course and a first round 76 suggested that this year was going to be no different! But that was not to be the case – a second round 67 moved me right up the field and I found myself out in the last match on the Sunday playing alongside Gordon Brand and Edward Romero. This delightful Argentinian played some phenomenal golf to forge a huge lead and the rest of us were left to play for second place. I was not complaining as for once this course was not getting the better of me! To shoot 70 ( 4 under par on the tough Back 9) and finish tied 2nd with Luis Carbonetti was just fantastic!
To touch on a couple of other tournaments briefly – I tied for 3rd spot with Carl Mason at Carden Park – a four round event up in Cheshire over a Nicklaus designed course. A good week too at The London Club in Kent, where with the sounds of Formula 1 racing in the background, I tied with my playing partners in the last round, Gordon Brand and Jose Rivero, for 3rd place.
Why has this been such a good year ? The real key to my improved performances which really all came in the second half of the season, was a lesson with my good friend, club professional Gary Torbett, who, whilst watching me on TV playing in the Seniors British Open at Royal Aberdeen, picked up on a couple of faults, one with my putting and another with my swing. A couple of lessons with him seemed to cure both of these problems and my game went from strength to strength. Along with being mentally stronger – and aided by the discovery of Lifewave Energy Enhancer patches I have had the best season ever!
Thank you for your interest!