Colin Montgomerie revisited a familiar end of season feeling when he was officially crowned the European Senior Tour’s Number One player in Mauritius.
The Scot signed off a sensational 2014 season by receiving the John Jacobs Trophy after finishing sixth in the MCB Tour Championship, winning an Order of Merit crown for the ninth time in his illustrious career, having topped the European Tour’s money list a record eight times.
Montgomerie claimed four Senior Tour titles, including two Senior Major Championships, during a record-breaking 2014 campaign, winning the Order of Merit with earnings of €624,543 – the highest in the history of the Senior Tour, comfortably beating Carl Mason’s previous 2007 benchmark of €412,376.
The 2010 European Ryder Cup Captain becomes just the second former European Tour Number One to repeat the feat on the Senior Tour, matching the achievement of another former Ryder Cup captain, Ian Woosnam, in 2008.
“This is great,” said Montgomerie. “To think I have eight of these Order of Merit trophies from The European Tour, which take pride of place, and now the John Jacobs Trophy from the Senior Tour to go alongside them is fantastic.
“This will most certainly join them, because this is very special. To win an Order of Merit again, and make it nine, really does mean a lot, and I look forward to trying to retain it next year. It has been a very special year, winning two Majors in America and twice back in Europe, and now capping it off with this.”
Montgomerie’s marvellous Senior Tour season began with victory in the US Senior PGA Championship at harbour Shores in Michigan, where he claimed his first official victory on American soil, finishing four strokes clear of US Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson.
Like Englishman Roger Chapman in 2012, the 51 year old then added the US Senior Open title two months later, defeating Gene Sauers in a play-off at Oak Tree National in Oklahoma after trailing by four shots going into the final round.
That gave Montgomerie the chance of a clean sweep of the Senior Majors only previously achieved by Gary Player in 1988 when he returned to Wales, the country where he led Europe to Ryder Cup glory four years ago, for The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex, at Royal Porthcawl. But he had to settle for second place this time, as Germany’s Bernhard Langer produced one of the stand out performances in the history of senior golf to win by an astonishing 13 strokes.
Montogomerie produced his own impressive display of front-running to defend the Travis Perkins Masters by ten shots at Woburn Golf Club at the end of August, and won again the following week at the Russian Open Golf Championship (Senior), finishing three shots clear of Canadian Rick Gibson to wrap up the Senior Tour Order of Merit.
It meant he took an unassailable lead into the season-ending MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius, where he ensured he finished in the top ten in all of his Senior Tour appearances in 2014, finishing three shots behind tournament Paul Wesselingh, the man he succeed as Senior Tour Number One, as Wesselingh defeated Barry Lane in a record-equalling six-hole play-off.
Montgomerie’s winning margin of €388,739 over Rick Gibson in the Senior Tour Order of Merit is also a new Senior Tour record, and he admits he has relished lifting more silverware on the over 50s circuit.
He won the European Tour Order of Merit seven years in a row from 1993-1999, adding an eighth in 2005, but despite his runaway success in 2014, he is unsure that he reproduce a similar period of dominance on the Senior Tour in the coming seasons.
“There are some great golfers due to turn 50 over the next few years, such as José María Olazábal and Paul McGinley, so I’m not sure winning as many as I did on The European Tour is a goal,” he said. “I’m just glad I have got one. There’s only Ian Woosnam and myself who have won both, and that is very special. To win like this as senior golfers means we are very lucky, firstly to still be in good health, and secondly to still be competitive.
“So it has been great and I love the competition. That is why I am still playing and I have thoroughly enjoyed this season.”
Canadian Gibson finished tied seventh in Mauritius to seal second place in the Order of Merit with earnings of €235,804, following a breakthrough season that included victory in the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open, and five other top ten finishes.
Former Ryder Cup player Lane finished third with €225,288, with Englishman Philip Golding (€189,118) fourth and Rookie of the Year Cesar Monasterio of Argentina (€173,250) completing the top five.
Wesselingh moved up from ninth to sixth in the final standings with earnings of €170,184, to also seal the final qualifying spot in next year’s US Senior Open.
European Tour www.europeantour.com
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