RUSS COCHRAN has led an American clean sweep at the 2011 Senior British Open Championship.
The 52 year old upstaged some of his more illustrious counterparts to become only the second left-handed golfer after Sir Bob Charles to win the title.
Cochran saw off all-comers with a superb final round of 67 on a day of low scoring and high temperatures at Walton Heath Golf Club, in Surrey, to finish on 12 under par and prevail by two strokes from his compatriot Mark Calcavecchia.
The American duo of Corey Pavin and the evergreen Tom Watson finished a further stroke behind courtesy of respective rounds of 69 and 67.
England’s Barry Lane was the first European to break up the American party, finishing in fifth place place on eight under par.
Australia’s Peter Fowler finished tied for 7th on 6-under. Fowler birdied his final hole for a bogey-free 70 to compound his success this year on the senior golf tour.
Victorian Mike Harwood (74) will be ruing lost opportunities after his fine opening round 68. He finished tied for 23rd.
Peter Senior (T31, 74) will probably want to forget his weekend but can look on his second round 68 to help rebuild confidence.
Cochran is a former US PGA Tour champion, was tied third in last year’s Senior Open Championship at Carnoustie and was Rookie of the Year on the US Champions Tour in 2009.
“The mindset I had today really helped me, because I haven’t been finishing off tournaments well this year. I feel like I should’ve won a couple of times, so it was starting to prey on my mind a little bit. But last night I thought of how Tom Watson plays when he’s in contention, and I tried to adopt his positive attitude,” the American said.
“I was confident in my game all day, because I knew I’d been playing well. I was able to relax, and I got off to a good start by playing aggressively. After a few putts started to drop, my confidence just grew. It’s a wonderful feeling, and I really enjoy playing in Britain. I’ve always felt like my game is suited to the courses over here, and I enjoy meeting the challenge. I’ve always said my best chance of winning a Major was The Senior Open Championship, and I’m so glad I was proved right.”
The world senior golf action now moves to the Inverness Golf Club in Toledo, Ohio, for the 2011 US Senior Open Championship.
2011 Senior British Open Results