Barry Lane became the first winner of the MCB Tour Championship – Madagascar at International Golf Club Du Rova and claimed his second Staysure Tour title of the season.
The 1993 Ryder Cup player recorded a final round of 69, two under par, as he came from four shots behind at the start of play to clinch his eighth victory on the over 50s circuit and his second of the year, having won the Senior Italian Open in June.
The Englishman began the day four strokes back from overnight leader Clark Dennis, but the American could not follow his impressive bogey free second round of 65, as Lane seized the opportunity to win the first stage of the three event final series MCB Tour Championship by one stroke.
The 59-year-old made a steady start to his final round with six successive pars before his first birdie of the day came at the par three seventh. He made the turn at level par after dropping a shot on the ninth, but regained his focus on the back nine as he returned to the clubhouse bogey free and two under par.
Dennis, playing in the same group as Lane, had trouble on the home stretch as he dropped six shots in seven holes, eventually finishing in share of fourth place. Five-time European Tour winner Lane, meanwhile, picked up shots at the 13th and 15th to move into the lead.
With the clubhouse target set at two under par by Juan Quiros and Jean-François Remesy, Lane knew a par on the final hole would seal a memorable victory to become the maiden winner of the first European Tour-sanctioned event in Madagascar.
“It feels amazing,” he said. “I knew I was one ahead coming down 18 and I still tried to hole the birdie putt, but I knew I could two-putt to win, which is always nice.
“I got off to a slow start today but putted beautifully on the first four holes and then started to play quite nicely but I hung in there. Clark had a nightmare on the 15th and that changed things. This game changes so quickly and that’s the nature of it.
“This week was all about mental ability. Whatever happened you had to accept it and try and do the best you could. Mentally, I thought I was amazing this week, because not once in 54 holes did I get annoyed or upset with any shot. I just played and got on with it.
“It’s such a difficult golf course because it’s quite bouncy and if you miss the greens it is so difficult to get up and down. During the week I didn’t feel like I was flushing it, but I tried to hit every fairway and every green to give myself a chance.
“It’s great that at 59 years old I am still winning, having won the Senior Italian Open earlier in the year when I was 58. I’m very happy to win at 59 and may it continue for another few years.”
Spain’s Quiros and Frenchman Remesy finished in a share of second place, following their final rounds of 69, two under par. Dennis, meanwhile, carded a round of 75 to join Stephen Dodd of Wales and Englishman Gary Evans in fourth, two strokes behind Lane.
Home favourite and local star Jean Baptiste Ramarozatovo, who was cheered on by the home crowd, recorded a round of 69 to take a share of seventh alongside Mauricio Molina of Argentina, England’s Peter Wilson and South African duo James Kingston and Chris Williams at level par.