Sunday, October 22, 2017

Stephen Dodd wins European Senior Masters

Welshman Stephen Dodd, pictured with the trophy by courtesy of Getty Images (c), won his second European Senior Tour title in spectacular fashion on a dramatic final day at the Farmfoods European Senior Masters, securing victory by holing a 40ft birdie putt on the 18th green at Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel and Country Club.
Dodd, winner of last year’s Senior Italian Open, started the day level par, three strokes behind 36-hole leader Clark Dennis but quickly made ground as he went out in 34 strokes, two under par.
The 51 year old, who moves up to eighth place on the European Senior Tour Order of Merit, spent most of the day chasing both Dennis and 2014 Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley, and found himself one shot behind with three holes to play, after a bogey on the 15th hole.
Playing in the penultimate group, Dodd found the fringe at the front of the green on the par three 18th, the signature hole at Forest of Arden, leaving himself a 40ft putt for birdie and a share of the lead.
The Welshman made the putt, which rolled around the hole before dropping in, to join McGinley at the top of the leaderboard on two under par.
McGinley, playing in just his fourth Senior Tour event, struck his tee shot short of the green and then missed a tricky putt for par to drop to one under. Dennis found the green, but missed a birdie putt from 15 feet, which would have forced a play-off, handing Dodd his second title.
“It was one of those putts where I was just trying to get by the hole, but fortunately it went in,” said Dodd. “The thing with tough conditions is there aren’t going to be scores like 64s or 65 out there. Level par is usually a good score and that’s what I had in mind today.
“The field was great this week, and to come out on top is a great achievement for me
“I had a good start today which was important and I made a lot of pars from there. It was tough on the back nine to get it close and make birdies. Thankfully I made one on the last when it counted.
“It has been a challenging three days with the weather but the course held up well. It has been a challenging week for the greenkeeping staff but they did a fantastic job in these conditions."
In fourth place, Jarmo Sandelin, a member of Europe’s 1999 Ryder Cup side, recorded the best result of his debut Senior Tour season on one over par, and two strokes further back were Peter Fowler and Philip Golding on two over par.
Peter Baker, playing in his first event on the over-50s circuit, took a share of seventh place with Gordon Brand Jnr, Paul Eales and Tim Thelen on three over par.



Rafferty/Doyle won pro-am
Michael Doyle and his professional partner Ronan Rafferty won the Farmfoods European Senior Masters Pro-Am with a tremendous 13 under par score.
The pair carded an opening better-ball round of 66 at Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club, six under par, and fired a seven under par round of 65 to win the Pro-Am by two strokes.
Their two best-nett rounds included nine birdies and three eagles.
The pairs of Ricky Sturrock and Clark Dennis and Tyrone Hanlon and Paul McGinley shared second place on 11 under par.
Peter Macleod and Philip Golding and Nick Whitehead and Gordon Brand Jnr shared fourth spot on nine under.



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