Loren Roberts of the USA secured his first Major title on the Seniors Tour yesterday at Turnberry, as he overcame a near-disastrous final round of 75 and Argentina’s Eduardo Romero in a sudden-death playoff to land the 2006 Aberdeen Asset Management British Senior Open.
The 51 year-old from California held a 20-foot putt for par on the first extra hole, and then watched as Romero agonisingly three-putted from just over 20 feet for bogey. Roberts had taken a four shot lead into the final round, but he almost threw away his chance of glory via two double bogeys on the back nine. He finally finished on six under-par – tied with Romero, who shot a final round of 71 to bridge the gap between himself and the American.
Dick Mast of the USA finished one shot further back at -5, while his compatriot Craig Stadler finished fourth at -2. The top placed European finisher was Gordon J Brand, who finished in a tie for 10th place at +4, but defending champion Tom Watson was unable to repeat the heroics he displayed at Turnberry at the Open in 1977 and struggled to a finish of +9.
“I feel more relieved than anything else,” Roberts said after surviving his final round scare.
“I hated it for Eduardo, but I have waited a long time for this. I was all over the place on the back nine and on the 18th in the playoff it looked like curtains but I made a great putt. I didn’t hit the ball nearly as well as I had on the first three days but I hung in there and never gave up. I just love links golf, and the Scottish fans are the most knowledgeable in the world. It feels wonderful to be a Major champion.”