The drought is over for two-time major champion Sandy Lyle.
And in convincing fashion.
Lyle picked up his first tournament victory in 19 years, winning the inaugural PGA European Senior Tour’s ISPS Handa Senior World Championship at the World Cup Course at Mission Hills China.
It was the Scot’s 19th career title on the European and Senior tours combined – the last of which came in 1992 at the Volvo Masters.
“You wonder after about four or five years whether you’ll ever win again let alone nearly 20, so this is very special,” said Lyle, who finished the tournament at 12 under, three shots clear of Australian Peter Fowler.
“I joined the Senior Tour, and it didn’t happen as quickly as I expected it to so you do have doubts. My trophy cabinet has been gathering dust over the years so I feel relieved to get a win, and it’s even better that it’s here in China on this course. This answers a lot of questions I had about myself.”
Lyle, a five-time Ryder Cup player, held a two-stroke lead heading into the final round, and birdies on Nos. 2 and 6 made it difficult for Fowler to make up any ground.
“This victory is very sweet as it’s obviously been such a long time,” said Lyle, in his 34th year as a pro. “I said a couple of years ago that I’d be happy just to win a Par Three contest – it had been that long.
“I showed a lot of patience this week. I only made one bogey in three rounds which is way beyond my norm. Usually I’d make at least four or five, but I was very consistent. I drove the ball well, which is important on a course like this. My iron play wasn’t actually that hot today, but I kept it reasonably close.”
Lyle, the 1985 British Open champion and 1988 Masters champion, leads the way for the European Senior Tour Order of Merit, with a runner-up finish at the Handa Australian Senior Open and T-5 at the Handa Cup Senior Masters in Japan.
The second-place finish was Fowler’s best on the Senior Tour, while Paraguay’s Angel Franco was third at 7 under.