Seniors star Montgomerie underlines his dominance
Former Irish Open winners Jamie Donaldson and Colin Montgomerie enjoyed the taste of victory in Thailand and Mauritius respectively yesterday.
Donaldson (40) claimed the eighth win of his career in impressive style, shooting 65 for 21 under par to take the Thailand Golf Championship at the Amata Spring Country Club.
Montgomerie (53) was already a clear winner of the John Jacobs Trophy awarded to the Senior Tour Order of Merit winner, and rounded off the campaign in style with success in the MCB Tour Championship.
Both players made a big impression on Irish golf fans.
Donaldson was a late bloomer, but once he overcame a strong field in the 2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush, the confidence flooded into his game.
Six months later he confirmed his status as a serious contender by winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and in 2014 sank the winning putt for Paul McGinley's Europe to secure the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles.
Yesterday, Donaldson had a three-stroke winning margin ahead of joint second place finishers Lee Westwood (67) and Clement Sordet of France (70).
"I hadn't played great this year so it was important to come here and work hard and kick on from there. That's as well as I can play and I'm really happy," said Donaldson.
As a bonus, the win qualified him for the Open championship at Royal Troon.
The other three Open spots went to Sordet, Westwood and Thailand's 16-year-old Phachara Khongwatmai, who came sixth.
Darren Clarke shot 75 for 30th place at four under par.
Cork's Niall Turner, a regular on the Asian Tour, did not make the cut.
Meanwhile, Montgomerie, Irish Open champion of 1996, '97 and 2001, held on to win in Mauritius on 15 under par, with David Frost of South Africa second on 12 under par.
This was Monty's second successive John Jacobs Trophy - he became the first player to retain the prize since fellow Scot Sam Torrance achieved the feat in 2006.
Monty went through an otherwise hugely successful career on the European Tour without winning a Major, and is making up for lost opportunities on the over-50s circuit.
He has three Senior Tour Majors on his CV, and a Senior Open Championship win would complete the full set of Senior Majors.
Des Smyth was the leading Irishman, tied 20th on two over par after a closing 76.
Denis O'Sullivan also carded 76 for tied-41st, and Philip Walton's 74 left him tied-45th.