It was double delight for Colin Montgomerie on Sunday night, as the Scot lifted both the MCB Tour Championship and John Jacobs Trophies after he topped the European Senior Tour Order of Merit for the second year in a row.
Having won the first tournament of the 2015 Senior Tour season and his third Senior Major in the US Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, Montgomerie climbed straight to the top of the money list and was never replaced, eventually finishing some €456,805 ahead of second placed Barry Lane with record winnings of €679,147.
Montgomerie becomes the first player to retain the John Jacobs Trophy since Sam Torrance, his compatriot and fellow former Ryder Cup-winning Captain, who achieved the feat in 2006.
His third victory of the campaign also saw Montgomerie smash his own record for earnings in a single season, set last year when he won €624,543 thanks chiefly to his victories in the US Senior PGA Championship, the Russian Open Golf Championship (Senior), the US Senior Open and the Travis Perkins Masters – a title he claimed for the third time in September.
But if anything, Montgomerie’s form figures in 2015 have been even more impressive, as he has finished inside the top three in each of his five appearances on the Senior Tour.
He said: “It’s a great honour to keep the John Jacobs Trophy in my cabinet. Having won the Order of Merit on the main Tour a few times in my career, it’s very nice to have continued that trend on the Senior Tour. They sit side by side very nicely. The standard of golf out here is improving year on year, so I’ve had to raise my own game to stay ahead of these guys.
“Defending my US Senior PGA title was obviously the highlight of my season, especially as it meant I finally got one over my old nemesis, Bernhard Langer. He never knows when he’s beaten and never gives you an inch, so to go head to head with him in the final round and come out on top was very pleasing.
“Then at Woburn, it was very special to win the Travis Perkins Masters for a third time and obviously to finish with another victory in Mauritius was the perfect end to the season. So when I look back on this year, those will be the standout memories for me.”
Following victory in the season opener in Indiana, the man affectionately known as “Monty” came agonisingly close to adding more Majors to an already impressive haul in both the US Senior Open Championship and The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex, finishing second and third behind Americans Jeff Maggert and Marco Dawson respectively.
But he bounced back impressively with that hat-trick of victories in the Travis Perkins Masters, beating his fellow Scot Ross Drummond on the second extra hole.
Victory put him out of sight of the chasing pack in the race to be crowned the Senior Tour’s Number One player, and also saw him create more history as the first player to win the same tournament in three consecutive years on both The European Tour (the BMW PGA Championship from 1998-2000) and the Senior Tour.
After winning the MCB Tour Championship by three shots from David Frost, the 52 year old immediately set his sights on achieving more success in 2016, particularly the Senior Open Championship, which remains the only Major omission on his résumé.
He said: “Looking ahead to next season, I guess the main focus would be to try to win more Majors, and try to win the Order of Merit for a third season in a row. The Senior Open is very much on my radar, because it’s the only Senior Major missing from my collection and of course it’s being held in Scotland. But for now, I’m going to pack the clubs away, enjoy a month off and then get ready for the new season.”
Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Senior Tour, said: “Colin’s dominance of the Senior Tour since turning 50 has been such that he has finished outside the top six just twice in 16 events.
“His two wins this year have taken him to seven overall and, from the moment he successfully defended his title in the US Senior PGA Championship, there only looked like being one winner of the John Jacobs Trophy.
“I have no doubt he will be the man to beat again next year and, given his unbridled enthusiasm for the game, it’s perfectly possible Colin could even go on to replicate the eight Order of Merits he won on The European Tour!”
European Tour www.europeantour.com