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BBC's John Fenton reports
"It was a riveting final round"
 real 14k

Sunday, 29 July, 2001, 15:16 GMT 16:16 UK
Stanley wins Senior British Open
Ian Stanley
Ian Stanley won the British Senior Open after a play-off

BBC Sport Online's John Haughey reports

Ian Stanley overcame the disappointment of missing a four-footer at the 72nd hole to claim a play-off victory over twice-winner Bob Charles in the Senior British Open.

The 52-year-old Australian three-putted from 20 feet in the final hole of regulation play after his playing partner Bob Charles had missed a birdie effort from 12 feet.

However to his credit, Stanley regrouped in the play-off to win at the same 18th hole with Charles unable to match the Australian's regulation five after finding a bunker off the tee.


This win means so much to me
  Ian Stanley

At the second time of asking, Stanley was able to two-putt from around 25 feet to ensure that he picked up the 79,000 first prize.

Stanley led for most of the day at Royal County Down, Northern Ireland, but 65-year-old Charles doggedly drew level with the Australian when he birdied the 13th.

Charles then dropped a shot at the 15th after missing the fairway with his drive and his failure to match Stanley's birdie gave the Melbourne man a crucial two-shot advantage.

Stanley got a huge break at the 17th when his drive hit one of the stakes beside the pond in the middle of the fairway and bounced to safety instead of going into the water.

Bob Charles
Bob Charles finished runner-up again

However, the New Zealander birdied the 17th to leave only a shot behind the players going into the last hole but the real drama then followed.

A relieved Stanley claimed that the thought of Retief Goosen's 72nd hole miss at the US Open entered his head when he stood over his putt on the final hole of regulation play.

"But then when I got to the play-off, Retief's exploits acted as a boost to me because I remembered how he came through in the end.

"My caddy Gabbie, whose been with me for over 30 years, helped me to regroup and I was determined to make a five the second time round.

"This win means so much to me. Peter Thompson, who is my hero won the Open six times, and now I've won a Senior Open," said Stanley.

Charles sportingly said that Stanley "deserved to win".

Murderous course

"I was a little disappointed to take three from the edge at the last hole but overall I'm happy with how things went.

"This is a murderous course with all the bounces but I'm pleased at how I stood up to the challenge," added the New Zealander.

The New Zealander's last day performance maintained his truly remarkable record in the championship.

In 15 attempts, the two-times winner has never been out of the top-six in the championship.

He has now finished second on six occasions.

Jack Nicklaus, playing in the Senior British Open for the first and possibly only time, had to settle for a joint-third finish with England's John Morgan - three shots behind Stanley and Charles.


I'm not going to keep playing if I'm continually hurting
  Jack Nicklaus

Nicklaus threatened the very top of the leaderboard when he eagled the 12th hole to edge to within two shots of Stanley.

However, the Golden Bear, despite having several good birdie chances on the back nine, never managed to get closer to the lead.

Nicklaus afterwards was non-committal about whether he will play in the Senior British Open again.

He admitted that "aches and pains" in his back and hip could cause him to cease his playing career in the near future.

Back pain

"I'm not going to keep playing if I'm continually hurting.

"I wanted to play in this tournament and I'm pleased to have done that even though I didn't win.

"I can't say whether I will be back. I don't know whether I will play any more tournaments this year because I'm not actually scheduled to play in any tournaments.

Jack Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus finished three shots adrift

"I have left some time free so that I can get more aches and pains sorted out".

Nicklaus had an artificial hip inserted two years ago and he has also been affected by back pain in recent times.

Gary Player's hope of launching a last day charge didn't materialise.

The 66-year-old three-times champion shot a disappointing 76 which left him on seven-over for the four days.

Russell Weir, two off the lead at the start of the final day, dropped out of contention after going to the turn in 41.

A rather undistinguished Irish challenge continued on the final day although Arthur Pierce, did claim the silver medal after hitting a 75 for a 16-over total.

Eddie Polland was top Irish finisher in joint 11th place after firing a closing 70 which left him on five-over.

Dreadful weekend

Warrenpoint man Kenny Stevenson shot a 73 for a nine-over total while Denis O'Sullivan, twice a winner on the European Seniors Tour this season, hit a 75 which left him on 13-over.

A dreadful weekend for Paul Leonard concluded with an 82 which included an 11 at the final hole.

Leonard had fired an 84 on Saturday and his final two rounds left the Tyrone man propping up the field.

Final round scores and totals (GB & Ire unless stated, par 71): 278 I Stanley (Aus) 70 69 70 69, B Charles (Nzl) 70 69 70 69; 281 J Nicklaus (USA) 70 72 70 69, J Morgan 69 70 72 70; 284 B Verwey (Rsa) 74 69 69 72; 285 B Huggett 69 71 72 73, S Owen (Nzl) 71 69 72 73; 286 B Gallacher 69 71 77 69; 287 N Ratcliffe (Aus) 70 75 73 69, B Vivian (Nzl) 72 74 72 69, D Stockton (USA) 71 71 71 74; 288 D Oakley (USA) 70 68 72 78; 289 J Bland (Rsa) 68 69 76 76, E Polland 75 74 70 70; 290 D Huish 75 71 71 73, P Dawson 73 71 70 76, R Weir 73 67 71 79; 291 D Good (Aus) 75 74 71 71, G Player (Rsa) 72 73 70 76, J Grace (USA) 77 70 67 77; 292 N Job 75 69 71 77; 293 K Stevenson 72 72 76 73, M Bembridge 74 72 74 73, S Ebihara (Jpn) 74 75 71 73, T Gale (Aus) 74 72 72 75, T Price (USA) 73 71 72 77; 294 R Carrasco (USA) 74 76 70 74, N Coles 74 72 73 75, D Creamer 75 74 69 76, K Takahashi (Jpn) 77 73 68 76.

295 E Sabo (USA) 75 70 76 74, V Krajewski (USA) 75 71 75 74, N Sugai (Jpn) 69; 78 73 75, B Shearer (Aus) 74 76 70 75, I Aoki (Jpn) 72 70 75 78; 296 T Wargo (USA) 77 69 81 69, K MacDonald 72 69 82 73, M Gregson 70 78 75 73, D Durnian 68 76 75 77; 297 D O'Sullivan 76 72 74 75, J Fourie (Rsa) 73 70 75 79; 298 D McClean (USA) 72 76 77 72, T Horton 74 75 74 75, T Britz (Rsa) 77 73 73 75, V Somers (Aus) 74 75 70 79; 299 M Miller 77 73 76 73, E Itai (Jpn) 74 72 78 75, J Horton (USA) 74 72 75 78, C Defoy 78 70 71 80 300 J Rhodes 80 68 78 74, A Pierse 76 74 75 75, R Metherell (Aus) 73 71 79 77.

301 W Milne 74 74 76 77, D Cambridge (Jam) 71 72 80 78, A Croce (Ita) 70 74 77 82, A Tapie (USA) 71 74 75 81; 302 S Locatelli (Ita) 78 72 80 72, J Bruner (USA) 73 76 76 77, S Smith (USA) 76 73 76 77, J McTear 78 72 70 80; 304 D Douglass (USA) 76 71 78 76, V Garcia (Spa) 74 74 75 81; 305 N Swenson Jnr (USA) 73 76 78 78; 306 J Traub (USA) 74 74 72 86; 309 A Balding (Can) 76 71 80 82, B Hardwick (Can) 75 71 78 85; 311 P Leonard 72 73 84 82

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