Thomas Levet won his first Staysure Tour title by carding the lowest round of the final day at the Farmfoods European Senior Masters hosted by Peter Baker at Forest of Arden Hotel and Country Club.
The Frenchman, who made his over-50s debut in this event last year, posted a closing four under par round of 68 to reach ten under par for the tournament, one shot clear of Markus Brier, who finished second on nine under par, and two shots clear of Paul Lawrie, Jarmo Sandelin and Ian Woosnam, who shared third place on eight under par.
Levet came out firing and made the turn in four under par, which was how he finished after carding three birdies and three bogeys on the back nine, before holing a tricky short par putt on the 18th hole to secure victory.
“It’s just a pleasure, a pleasure to win,” he said. “I’ve been close lately, close to winning. I’ve been playing really well but my putter has not been there at all. My long game has been very good and I finally made some putts this week.
“I started making some putts yesterday and today it held up pretty well and I’m pleased because the conditions today were really tough. To par the last hole here at Forest of Arden, it’s 218 yards into the wind, it’s enormous and I managed to hold my nerve and make par there, so it’s a great feeling.”
The 51-year-old reached his final total by the time he made the turn and after that, it was a case of keeping his nerve and going back to basics.
“I knew I was in the lead because I got off to a quick start and was four under after nine, birdieing eight and nine,” he said. “They were two tough holes today and I knew I was in the lead because there is a leaderboard right there. There are no illusions; you see it and you know you are in the lead.
“I tried to keep my nerve and hit the greens. Paul Lawrie was fighting hard and he was holing putts to stay just behind me and he is always dangerous. He hit a beautiful shot on 17 but only made birdie and I made a safe par. I knew I had a one-shot lead on 18 and I managed to par it.
“I got an albatross last week in Austria and I won a big bottle of wine and I gave it to Markus Brier so maybe that’s why I won the tournament – I gave him something last week and I wasn’t going to give him the play-off today.”
On a day of difficult scoring conditions in England, only 12 players posted under par rounds, including all of those finishing in a tie for third or better, with overnight leader Paul Broadhurst posting a level par 72 to finish in sixth place.
South Africa’s James Kingston continued his good run of form by picking up his third top ten in his last four starts by finishing seventh, while Qualifying School graduate José Manuel Carriles achieved the same feat by finishing eighth on five under par.
With victory, Levet moves up to 20th on the Staysure Tour Order of Merit having played only eight events this season, while Broadhurst’s sixth place at Forest of Arden is enough for him to leapfrog José Coceres and Bernhard Langer into second place in the Rankings.