THE HAGUE, Netherlands – Englishman George Ryall notched a closing-round 66 to win the inaugural Van Lanschot Senior Open by one stroke and become the first non-exempt winner on the European Senior Tour in four years.
Ryall, who sealed his place in the field after finishing T-5 in last week’s Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open, held off Andrew Oldcorn at Royal Haagsche Golf and Country Club to secure his maiden Senior Tour victory.
Oldcorn, a three-time winner on the European Tour, started the day with a two-shot lead. After Ryall birdied the 18th to take the clubhouse lead at 10-under 206, the Scot’s 25-foot birdie putt lipped out at 17th. Oldcorn (72) managed a par on the last to finish at 9 under.
Ryall, who earned a spot at this month’s Senior Open Championship, became the seventh first-time winner on tour this year.
“I had different goals for this week – to get in the top 10 to keep playing and top five to get in the top 40 on the Order of Merit . . . so I could get more starts,” Ryall said.
“I didn’t really expect to win, ever. I didn’t look at any leaderboards until the 17th, when it frightened me to death and I left my putt halfway.
“The turning point was really the putt on the last, when I thought I’d missed it left and it turned back into the hole.”
With the victory, Ryall becomes the first player not fully exempt on the Senior Tour to win since Spaniard Juan Quiros triumphed in the 2006 Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open.
Oldcorn’s runner-up finish continued his successful run since joining the Senior Tour, with his fifth top-10 finish in seven starts, moving him to sixth in the Order of Merit.
Former Ryder Cup player Gordon J. Brand carded a 68 to finish third at 208, with Scotland’s Ross Drummond in fourth (209).
Ryder Cup-winning captains Ian Woosnam and Sam Torrance finished T-48 and T-68, respectively.
European Senior Tour contributed to this report.