McGovern clinches career-best finish and €33,300
 WOBURN, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 02:  Brendan McGovern of Ireland plays his first shot on the 3rd tee during the Travis Perkins Senior Masters - Day Two at Woburn Golf Club on September 2, 2017 in Woburn, England.  (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

WOBURN, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 02:  Brendan McGovern of Ireland plays his first shot on the 3rd tee during the Travis Perkins Senior Masters - Day Two at Woburn Golf Club on September 2, 2017 in Woburn, England.  (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Brendan McGovern birdied the 18th from just off the green to snatch a European Senior Tour career-best share of second place in the Travis Perkins Masters at Woburn and take a giant step towards avoiding another trip to the Q-School.

The 52-year old Headfort professional went into the final round three strokes behind American Clark Dennis on four-under.

But while he finished tied with Dennis (75) thanks to a level par 72, one stroke behind winner Phil Golding, a career-best cheque for € 33,300 moved him up to 18th in the Order of Merit with €63,228 from eight starts and into position to earn his card for next year.

It wasn't the result McGovern had in mind but the money — more than 10 times his European Tour best for finishing tied 23rd in the 1995 Hohe Brucke Open — will go a long way towards helping him finish in the all-important top 20 on the Order of Merit with five events remaining this season.

Golding, who won the Swiss Seniors Open at Golf Club Bad Ragaz in July, fired a final round of 70 to claim the € 58,765 top prize.

He started the day three under par, four strokes behind overnight leader Dennis, who birdied four of the first five holes to move seven strokes clear. 

But the Senior Tour rookie’s hard work was undone by a bogey and double bogey on the eighth and ninth holes.

 WOBURN, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03:  Philip Golding of England in poses with the trophy after the final round of the Travis Perkins Senior Masters played at the Duke's Course, Woburn Golf Club on September 3, 2017 in Woburn, England.  (Photo by Phil Inglis/Getty Images)

WOBURN, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03:  Philip Golding of England in poses with the trophy after the final round of the Travis Perkins Senior Masters played at the Duke's Course, Woburn Golf Club on September 3, 2017 in Woburn, England.  (Photo by Phil Inglis/Getty Images)

Golding birdied the first and the fifth before a bogey on the seventh hole, yet the 55-year old remained calm as he birdied the tenth. 

As Dennis ran into further trouble on the back nine, Golding cancelled out a bogey on the 13th hole with a birdie on the 16th hole and parred the final two holes to win his fourth Senior Tour title.

“I am a little bit in shock,” said Golding. “I kept looking at the leaderboard; I’ve been around long enough to know to keep plugging away and grind it out. 

"I said to my caddie that I was playing for second spot after seeing Clark was five or six ahead of me after five holes; but Paul said to me to keep going.

“I’m delighted. It was tough out there. It’s a great course, Woburn. If you hit it in the trees you have to take your medicine, come out sideways and then carry on. 

"I finished runner-up last year, we know it’s a tough course. It was blustery out there today. If you’re in the trees, downwind, you’ve no idea what will happen.

“You never want to see what happened to Clark, but he’s a good player. He has been up there three or four times, and I’m sure he’ll cross the line soon.”

McGovern birdied the second but bogeyed the seventh and 10th and was one over with six to play before he birdied the 13th and followed a bogey at the 17th with a birdie at the par-five 18th.

 WOBURN, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03:  Philip Golding of England in action during the final round of the Travis Perkins Senior Masters played at the Duke's Course, Woburn Golf Club on September 3, 2017 in Woburn, England.  (Photo by Phil Inglis/Getty Images)

WOBURN, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03:  Philip Golding of England in action during the final round of the Travis Perkins Senior Masters played at the Duke's Course, Woburn Golf Club on September 3, 2017 in Woburn, England.  (Photo by Phil Inglis/Getty Images)

Golding moves up to fourth on the Senior Tour Order of Merit and with the Paris Legends Championship at Le Golf National, site of his 2003 HNA Open de France victory, on the horizon. The Englishman is looking to finish the season strong.

“We go to Italy next week, which is a great course,” he said. “There are just a couple of weeks to go until we’re back in Paris, which I can’t wait for.”

Chris Williams, who leads the Order of Merit, finished fourth with a score of two under par, one stroke ahead of 2016 Rookie of the Year Magnus P Atlevi and 2011 Rankings winner Peter Fowler.

Des Smyth closed with a 69 to finish tied 16th on three over with Eamonn Darcy  (78) tied 38th and Philip Walton (75) 42nd and 

Travis Perkins Masters, Woburn (Par 72)

Detailed scores

211 P Golding (Eng) 70 71 70, 

212 C Dennis (USA) 72 65 75, Brendan McGovern (Irl) 70 70 72, 

214 C Williams (RSA) 74 71 69, 

215 P Fowler (Aus) 71 70 74, M Atlevi (Swe) 73 70 72, 

216 D Gilford (Eng) 70 71 75, G Orr (Sco) 70 74 72, J Kingston (RSA) 79 70 67, 

217 P Wesselingh (Eng) 74 71 72, R Chapman (Eng) 75 72 70, 

218 L Zhang (Chn) 76 73 69, C Mason (Eng) 70 72 76, G Marks (Eng) 73 74 71, I Woosnam (Wal) 69 74 75, 

219 M Wharton (Eng) 74 73 72, D Smyth (Irl) 74 76 69, M Mouland (Wal) 72 74 73, A Bossert (Sui) 72 74 73, 

220 M Harwood (Aus) 71 77 72, J Sandelin (Swe) 76 72 72, B Lane (Eng) 77 70 73, 

221 G Brand Jnr (Sco) 76 71 74, S Brown (Eng) 81 69 71, A Oldcorn (Sco) 72 75 74, P O'Malley (Aus) 75 73 73, T Wiratchant (Tha) 76 73 72, 

222 T Thelen (USA) 71 73 78, S Dodd (Wal) 71 78 73, 

223 G Turner (Nzl) 72 74 77, S Luna (Esp) 73 77 73, 

224 G Rusnak (USA) 76 74 74, P Wilson (Eng) 77 74 73, P Linhart (Esp) 73 75 76, 

225 G Emerson (Eng) 74 74 77, C Monasterio (Arg) 75 73 77, P Eales (Eng) 77 76 72, 

226 M Martin (Esp) 77 75 74, E Darcy (Irl) 76 72 78, A Murray (Eng) 75 77 74, C Suneson (Esp) 76 74 76, 

227 M Farry (Fra) 76 75 76, B Conser (USA) 75 74 78, P Walton (Irl) 76 76 75, 

228 G Wolstenholme (Eng) 76 74 78, J Rivero (Esp) 76 76 76, J Sallat (Fra) 77 79 72, 

229 S Tinning (Den) 74 78 77, R Drummond (Sco) 73 76 80, 

230 J Remesy (Fra) 77 74 79, 

232 G Brand (Eng) 77 77 78, 

234 M Mackenzie (Eng) 79 72 83, 

236 M James (Eng) 78 79 79, 

** C Rocca (Ita) 75 DQ .