COLIN Montgomerie completed a dominant wire-to-wire defence of his title in the Travis Perkins Masters, marching to a ten-stroke victory at Woburn Golf Club as he extended his list of record-breaking achievements on the European Senior Tour in 2014.
Montgomerie won by six shots over the Duke’s Course last year to claim his maiden Senior Tour title, and it ended up being even more comfortable on his return, with the Scot carding a closing round of 67 for a 12-under par total of 204, two strokes lower than his winning score 12 months ago.
He had started the final round with a four-stroke cushion over Mike Cunning and, after both players birdied the opening hole, Cunning briefly halved the deficit to just two shots when Montgomerie bogeyed the third hole and the American birdied the fifth.
But that was as close as the contest would get, as Montgomerie immediately struck back with a birdie on the sixth hole, and he left the field trailing in his wake, picking up four more shots, including a closing birdie, with Cunning eventually signing for a round of 74 to finish tied fifth on one under par.
Instead, Austrian Gordon Manson (67), Switzerland’s Andre Bossert (71) and Montgomerie’s former college teammate Tim Thelen (71) came through to share second place on two under par but, for a second consecutive year, the back nine proved a victory procession.
“I’m delighted to come back here and successfully defend this great title,” he said. “It probably looks pretty comfortable and, in the end, it was, but Mike [Cunning] managed to get to within two shots and it could easily have been one shot at one point. I didn’t start that well, but I made a birdie on the sixth hole and then I just started moving away really. There are two places in England which I really love. One is Sunningdale and one is here at Woburn. It’s always a privilege to come here and I’m very proud to win around here once again.”
Montgomerie follows Carl Mason (2006-07) as the only other player to successfully defend the Travis Perkins Masters title, and, as well as setting a new lowest winning total in the tournament’s history, he also broke two of the Mason’s Senior Tour records, including one that has stood for 11 years.
Englishman Mason had been the quickest player in Senior Tour history to win four times, doing so in 11 appearances in his maiden campaign in 2003, but Montgomerie has now achieved the feat in just nine.
Meanwhile, Montgomerie’s winner’s cheque of €56,376 at Woburn Golf Club also means that he is the first player in the history of the Senior Tour to earn more than €500,000 in a single season, smashing Mason’s previous record haul for a year of €412,376 set in 2007. “It is super to get those records,” he said.
“You never tire of achieving things like that. I’m enjoying every minute of it.”
Having already claimed the US Senior PGA Championship and the US Senior Open, as well as finishing runner up to Bernhard Langer in The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex, Montgomerie is also now on course to become only the second former European Tour No 1 to win the Senior Tour Order of Merit after Ian Woosnam in 2008.