Paul Lawrie, The 1999 Open Champion, started the year in the middle of recovery from foot surgery, but ended it as the Staysure Tour Rookie of the Year thanks to a superb second half of the season.
The Scot finished on each spot on the podium once and had two further top tens in his debut season as he finished 11th on the Order of Merit, with a memorable home victory the clear highlight of his maiden campaign in the over 50s ranks.
However, the early part of the season was frustrating for the eight-time European Tour winner, who was on the comeback trail from foot surgery.
“I wasn’t 100 per cent fit when I turned 50 because I had surgery and I knew it would take me a few months to get fit and get myself over what happened with my foot,” he said.
“I’d been looking forward to it for a long time. I obviously still had exemption on the European Tour and I was looking forward to mixing the two tours together. It’s been great, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. The standard is very good, I already knew that.
“The Senior Open was the first week that I really felt fit to compete properly. In the first five or six months of the year, I was playing but my foot hadn’t recovered properly.”
That victory at the Scottish Senior Open was Lawrie’s first triumph on home soil since his Alfred Dunhill Links Championship win in 2001 and upon reflection, the 50-year-old believes he was trending towards a win after a tough few months.
“I was fully fit by the time I got to Craigielaw,” he said. “I was playing a bit better and playing a bit more regular. I felt I was playing a lot more golf and starting to score a little better. I thought it hopefully wasn’t going to be long before I won.
“It was really tricky, the wind was not easy. I enjoyed the week, I enjoyed the course. Some of the greens have got quite a lot of slopes on them and you’ve got to be careful what you’re doing. As soon as it’s windy like that, I quite enjoy that form of golf.
“I quite enjoy keeping the ball down, I’ve done it my whole life since I was a junior. It’s just something I do automatically. I fancied my chances straight away, but a lot of the guys are good players in the wind.”
Lawrie’s approach shot to the par four seventh hole in the final round at Craigielaw was one of the shots of the year on the Staysure Tour and the catalyst for victory.
“It was quite a narrow tee shot and there is water up the left and it was into the wind,” he said. “I tried to just nudge a low little three iron up the right side. I pushed it into the rough a little bit and had 168 yards and a four iron for me is 210 yards, so it shows how strong the wind was.
“I stuck it back in the stance a little bit and hit it to four feet. It was by far the best shot I played all week.”