Shropshire Star

Baker rolls back the years to be Europe’s best senior

Wolverhampton golf star Peter Baker admitted he felt like pinching himself after being crowned Europe’s best senior player.


The former Ryder Cup ace, now senior pro at South Staffordshire Golf Club, clinched the Legends Tour Order of Merit title in thrilling fashion by winning the final tournament of the year on the final hole.

Baker, 56, held off the challenge of Adilson da Silva to triumph in the MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius and pip his rival to the overall Road to Mauritius prize and the John Jacobs Trophy as the year’s top player.

“It means everything,” said Baker. “I never thought I would do it and I can’t quite believe it. It’s a great feeling and something I will treasure for the rest of my life. It’s been an incredible golfing year. I have had a lot of support and help back home.

“It is a team effort at the end of the day. I hit some great shots at the right time. Everything was just that little bit better and it ends with me being No.1.”

The win was Baker’s fourth of the year and followed previous victories at the Senior Irish Open, the PGA Championship and the JCB Championship, where he beat former Major winners Ernie Els and Vijay Singh.

But he was made to work for it by Da Silva, whose win the Vinpearl DIC Legends tournament in Vietnam a week previously had sent the season down to the wire.

Both started Sunday’s third and final round one shot off the lead and it was Da Silva who held the advantage heading into the back nine. But four birdies in the final six holes, including the last, was enough to put Baker over the line as he edged out Patrik Sjoland for the tournament victory.

Peter Baker, 1993 Ryder Cup.

“I hit a good drive on 18 and I saw Patrik miss a putt on the green that I thought was probably for birdie,” he explained.

“I knew we were tied so I thought it was birdie to win the tournament. We play to win tournaments and I’ve probably never hit a better five-wood than that, it was all over it. I’m really pleased with that shot.”

Baker, who represented Europe at the 1993 Ryder Cup, continued: “It’s fantastic. It’s something I did not think of at the start of the year. My three wins obviously then put me in a fantastic position.

“Adilson has had a fantastic year as well. The two weeks I had off before Vietnam I worked really hard. The conditions weren’t great at home but I really put the time and effort in because I knew he would come in strong.

“To win in Vietnam the way he did was a fantastic performance.

“I knew it was going all the way to the wire. I even said to my wife this week, I think we need to win this because he is going to be right there with the form he he is in.

“I was trying to win the tournament at the same time because I thought that was needed and I wasn’t far off.

“I played really well. The back nine I gave myself a lot of chances, didn’t make many. Then I made one at 14 to get back to level with Adilson.

“I had a couple of great putts at 15 and 16 and then that great shot at the last to seal it, so the last six or seven holes were tremendous.”