McGinley falls as Dodd’s long bomb sets up dramatic victory
Stephen Dodd. Picture: Phil Ingles

Stephen Dodd. Picture: Phil Ingles

Paul McGinley was denied his first tour win for 12 years when Welshman Stephen Dodd birdied the Forest of Arden’s 18th from 40 feet to draw level, eventually claiming the Farmfoods European Senior Masters after the Dubliner bogeyed the hole minutes later.

Winner of last year’s Senior Italian Open presented by Villaverde Resort, Dodd started the day on level par, three strokes behind 36-hole leader Clark Dennis.

The 51-year-old quickly made ground as he went out in two under par 34 and spent most of the day chasing both Dennis and 2014 Ryder Cup captain McGinley.

He was one ahead with for to play but found himself one shot behind McGinley after a two shot swing at the 15th hole, where he made bogey and McGinley, who was playing behind him in the final group, made birdie.

Dodd was still trailing McGinley playing the par-three 18th but he found the fringe at the front of the green, leaving himself 40 feet for birdie and a share of the lead.

The Welshman made the putt, which rolled around the hole before dropping in, to join McGinley at the top of the leaderboard on two under par.

McGinley, playing in just his fourth Senior Tour event on European soil, struck his tee shot short of the green but then missed a tricky putt for par to drop to one-under.

Dodd wasn’t safe yet as Dennis found the green, but missed a birdie putt from 15 feet, which would have forced a play-off, handing him his second European Senior Tour title.

“It was one of those putts where I was just trying to get by the hole, but fortunately it went in,” said Dodd.

“The thing with tough conditions is there aren’t going to be scores like 64s or 65 out there. Level par is usually a good score and that’s what I had in mind today.

“The field was great this week, and to come out on top is a great achievement for me.”

”I had a good start today which was important and I made a lot of pars from there. It was tough on the back nine to get it close and make birdies. Thankfully I made one on the last when it counted.

“It has been a challenging three days with the weather but the course held up well. It has been a challenging week for the greenkeeping staff but they did a fantastic job in these conditions.”

McGinley started the final round just a shot behind Dennis but surged ahead when he went out in 35 to the American’s 40 to share the lead with Dodd.

While he bogeyed the 11th and 13th, he birdied the short 15th to snatch the lead only to hear that Dodd had made that dramatic birdie on the last to set the target at two-under.

A par three would have earned him a playoff but in the end, he made bogey for a 73 share of second with Oeder of Merit leader Dennis.