Australia’s Noel Ratcliffe consolidated his place at the top of the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit when he closed with a one under par 71 to win the Temes Seniors Open at Glyfada GC in Greece.
It was Ratcliffe’s second win within the last month, following his victory at the Scotsman Seniors Open at Dalmahoy, and it took his earnings for the season to £91,854, over £21,000 ahead of his nearest challenger, England’s Tommy Horton, the winner of the Order of Merit for the past four consecutive seasons.
Ratcliffe, 56, a former winner of the Benson & Hedges International on the regular European Tour, started the final day in Greece tied with Scotland’s Norman Wood and Japan’s Toshiaki Namiki but he ended it alone on five under par 211, two shots in front of Ireland’s Denis O’Sullivan, who closed with 70, and England’s Maurice Bembridge, who recorded a 71.
Namiki finished in a tie for fourth place alongside England’s Jim Rhodes while Wood closed with a disappointing 75 to share sixth place alongside a large group comprising Eddie Polland, Kurt Cox, John Benda, Peter Dawson, Malcolm Gregson and Jeff Van Wagenen, winner of last week’s Tui Seniors Championship in Germany who closed with a best-of-the-day 67 to move up from a share of 43rd place.
“That was a tough day out there,” said Ratcliffe, moments after collecting the £20,825 first place cheque. “I felt I had to battle against my swing all the way round so I am delighted to win again.
“It’s also great to increase my lead at the top of the Order of Merit. I’ve got a handy lead at the moment but I can’t afford to relax because there’s still four tournament left to go.
“I just want to take each week as it comes but I’ve got to admit that if I keep playing like this I will take a bit of catching.”
Ireland’s Joe McDermott and America’s Snell Lancaster shared the £500 First National Super Seniors prize, awarded to the leading competitor over the age of 60, after finishing tied for 31st place on five over par 221. It was the first time that McDermott, a former AIB Irish Open champion, had been eligible for the award, having celebrated his 60th birthday on the last day of last week’s tournament in Germany.