English Senior Open: Cesar Monasterio crowned champion at Rockliffe Hall

Just champion: English Senior Open winner Cesar Monasterio

Just champion: English Senior Open winner Cesar Monasterio

First published in Sport
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Football/Golf Writer

MORE than 4,500 spectators turned up at Rockliffe Hall on Sunday to witness Argentine Cesar Monasterio hold his nerve to hold off the challenge from England and Scotland to clinch the English Senior Open title at Rockliffe Hall.

Monasterio, who had jumped to the top of the leaderboard on Saturday by equalling the course record with a stunning nine-under par 63, never really had to repeat his earlier heroics to stay ahead of the rest, but he was solid enough on the final day to claim £30,000.

Despite a few scares late on, when he made three sand-saving pars at 15, 16 and 18, the 50-year-old responded to a bogey at the first hole to make a two-under 70 on the final round, which was sealed with short putt and a punch in the air to celebrate.

For a golfer who did not have many English words to deliver in his winner’s speech, he worked his magic from start to finish with his clubs to follow in the footsteps of Denmark’s Steen Tinning in winning the competition at the County Durham course.

“It feels great,” said Monasterio, who has now become only the fifth player to win on the Senior Tour, European Tour and Challenge Tour. “I would like to thank everyone this week, because it has been a great week and I have enjoyed it.

“The course is in excellent condition and it suited how I wanted to play and can play. It was a tough field so I had to be at my best to finish where I did. Last week I also did well (at the Scottish Open), but this week I was able to stay at the top.”

Monasterio actually changed his irons after an opening round 69 had put him in to serious contention. It was a significant gamble, but one which paid off with the help of local caddy Gary Spalding.

The Castle Eden golfer, a three handicapper, was with him throughout the week and he was full of admiration for the South American. Spalding said: “What a player. He was so steady. He settled down after bogeying the first hole and he always looked in control.”

Monasterio was full of high praise for the man carrying his bag. He said: “Gary was very good for me every day here, especially when he helped me to line up my putts. He was excellent.”

After Ian Woosnam, who had fired his way in to contention on moving day with a brilliant 64, slipped away after carding a 78, the biggest threats came to Monasterio’s lead arrived from Andrew Oldcorn and Barry Lane.

Scotland’s Oldcorn made two eagles on his way to a 67, which included sinking a 151-yard eight iron at the ninth in front of the clubhouse for an eagle on his way to 67. That earned him second spot on nine-under along with England’s former Ryder Cup player Lane, who stayed in contention with a 70.

John Harrison, the ex-Barnard Castle pro now at Matfen Hall, had threatened to join the party on Sunday when he was six-under inside 13 holes, which included an eagle at seven. That lifted him up in to the top five temporarily because he then finished with two bogeys.

Harrison said: “It was just the last two holes really. At 17 I had a really difficult bunker shot and then again at 18 I just couldn’t get it up on to the green after pulling my second shot a little. I lost a little bit of momentum after missing a short putt which would have taken me to seven-under.”

But for Harrison to finish tied 15th, having ended Friday in 65th place, he had every right to be satisfied. The two other North-East golfers on show ended further down the leaderboard.

Eaglescliffe’s Graeme Bell finished with a one-over 73 to end on one-over for the tournament. Hurworth’s Roger Roper was unable to build on his 71 on Saturday by hitting 73 on the last day.

After finishing his round, Harrison was full of praise for the condition of the “immaculate” course and his sentiments were echoed from the organisers and players. Tournament director Kevin Feeney claimed “it was one of the best venues he has ever worked with in 15 years.”

Approaching 10,000 spectators visited Rockliffe Hall over the week of the tournament and talks have already started aimed at bringing the English Senior Open back to County Durham for a third time next year.

And Rockliffe Hall chairman Warwick Brindle said: “The return of the English Senior Open has been one of the most successful events Rockliffe Hall has ever held.

“It has been a real coup for the North-East to host such a prestigious sporting event and I would like to thank the people behind the Tour, the golfers our sponsors and most importantly the spectators who made it such a fantastic event for the second year running.”

FINAL LEADERBOARD

202 C Monasterio (Arg) 69 63 70,

207 B Lane (Eng) 71 66 70, A Oldcorn (Sco) 72 68 67,

208 P Eales (Eng) 74 68 66, J Spence (Eng) 67 71 70, R Drummond (Sco) 70 65 73,

210 S Luna (Esp) 71 68 71, M James (Eng) 70 70 70, A Murray (Eng) 71 69 70, C Williams (Eng) 69 71 70,

211 J Sallat (Fra) 75 66 70, J Carriles (Esp) 70 68 73, A Bossert (Sui) 72 69 70, P Fowler (Aus) 73 70 68,

212 A Franco (Par) 72 69 71, S Tinning (Den) 72 68 72, P Linhart (Esp) 72 69 71, M Farry (Fra) 71 72 69, J Harrison (Eng) 77 67 68, M Martin (Esp) 70 71 71, 213 D O'Sullivan (Irl) 71 73 69, G Rusnak (USA) 69 72 72, J Gould (Eng) 71 69 73, P Jonas (Can) 72 70 71, B Conser (USA) 70 72 71, P Wesselingh (Eng) 70 72 71, L Carbonetti (Arg) 73 72 68,

214 G Manson (Aut) 71 73 70, D Russell (Eng) 69 73 72, J Berendt (Arg) 73 73 68,

215 P Golding (Eng) 72 71 72,

216 I Woosnam (Wal) 74 64 78, S Brown (Eng) 77 70 69, G Wolstenholme (Eng) 71 70 75, R Gibson (Can) 73 70 73, J Quiros (Esp) 71 72 73, M Davis (Eng) 73 73 70,

217 R Rafferty (Nir) 74 70 73, K Spurgeon (Eng) 76 68 73, G Bell (Eng) 72 73 72, T Thelen (USA) 72 73 72,

218 M Mackenzie (Eng) 76 70 72, R Arnott (Sco) 71 73 74, J Smith (USA) 74 73 71, K Tomori (Jpn) 70 75 73,

219 P Curry (Eng) 70 73 76, D Smyth (Irl) 71 78 70, A Sherborne (Eng) 75 68 76,

220 G Brand Jnr (Sco) 71 75 74, J Bruner (USA) 74 75 71, T Price (Aus) 73 70 77, B Cameron (Eng) 74 73 73, N Job (Eng) 75 72 73, P Walton (Irl) 74 72 74,

221 R Roper (Eng) 77 71 73, T Johnstone (Zim) 68 77 76,

222 M McLean (Eng) 73 74 75, G Ryall (Eng) 74 73 75, S Torrance (Sco) 75 72 75, M Cunning (USA) 70 76 76,

223 M Bianco (Ita) 72 81 70,

224 C Mason (Eng) 77 73 74,

225 P Way (Eng) 74 74 77, S Cipa (Eng) 75 77 73, 226 M Harwood (Aus) 74 72 80, G Brand (Eng) 75 76 75,

227 G Emerson (Eng) 76 77 74, D Durnian (Eng) 75 78 74, 230 W Grant (Eng) 77 77 76,

232 N Ratcliffe (Aus) 80 78 74,

236 B Longmuir (Sco) 80 79 77,

** J Remesy (Fra) RT 0 0,

 

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