Cochran captures The Senior Open Championship title at Walton Heath

Russ Cochran carded a superb final-round 67 to finish 12 under-par and top the field at The Senior Open Championship at Walton Heath Golf Club, in Surrey.  The 52-year-old American, who claims his first Senior Major Championship, finished two shots adrift of fellow countryman Mark Calcavecchia, and three shots ahead of Corey Pavin and Tom Watson.  England’s Barry Lane was the best placed European finishing 5th, four shots off the pace at 8 under-par.

Cochran, who began the day as co-leader with South African David Frost and Calcavecchia, opened with consecutive birdies before picking up further shots at the sixth, seventh and eighth to complete an impressive 31 front nine.  He proceeded to come home in level par, staying clear of Calcavecchia whose charge was thwarted after he four-putted the 9th hole on the way to a final-round 69.

Cochran, who was tied 3rd in last year’s event at Carnousite, becomes only the second left-hander after Sir Bob Charles to win The Senior Open Championship who triumphed in 1989 and 1993.  Cochran earns €220,961 for his victory, while also securing his place in The 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

Cochran said: “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.

“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.”

Cochran’s maiden European Senior Tour victory maintains the American dominance of the recent Championships, with Americans winning 8 out of the last 9 Senior Open Championships. 

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