MIKE HARWOOD has captured his maiden European Senior Tour title in the OKI Castellon Senior Tour Championship in Spain, securing the tour’s Rookie of the Year title and marking a magnificent return to top golf.
Harwood carded a superb final round six under par 66 in windy conditions at Club de Campo del Mediterráneo on Sunday to finish three strokes clear of overnight leader Angel Franco and add the season ending Championship to the Volvo Masters he won on The European Tour in 1990 – becoming the first player to win both titles.
It capped a memorable fortnight for the 50 year old, who won the Australian Senior Open two weeks ago and rounded off a seamless return to competitive golf in 2009 after more than a decade out of the game.
“It was an amazing day, emotional too,” said Harwood. “When the wind was as bad as it was this morning I just didn’t want to make an idiot of myself.
“It’s been a great week. I had a few lucky breaks and I’ve made a lot of putts this week. I came in thinking this could be my week but I played well and putted so well.
“I hoped I would win this year but thought it might be unrealistic after so long out of the game. There must be something about Spain and the wind because my Volvo Masters win came in exactly the same conditions.”
Harwood had started the day two strokes behind Franco at Club de Campo del Mediterráneo but five birdies on his front nine saw him move into a share of the lead.
“My short game today was unbelievable on the front nine,” said Harwood. “I played pretty well on the back nine – I didn’t hit the ball that great but my short game was electric.”
Harwood won about $103,000 in Spain which took his year’s tally to about $210,000 allowing him to slip past the Rookie title leader and fellow Aussie Peter Senior, who won about $150,000 for the year, but did not play in Spain.