My title win went to wire; Race to Dubai will too

Sam Torrance
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TOUCHING down on British soil yesterday as the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit winner for a third time was a feeling I&rsquo;m barely able to put into words.<br /><br />Winning the first two in 2005 and 2006 was mind-blowing enough, but to reclaim the title from a great champion like Ian Woosnam, and with the injury problems I have suffered over the last two seasons, made this all the more special.<br /><br />In the end, it came down to the final event of the season, the Castellon Masters. This was an event I won last season and I went there with the mindset that I would have to successfully defend the title if I was to stand any chance of dislodging Woosie at the top of the standings.<br /><br /><strong>SURGE</strong><br />I was delighted with my opening round 67 and even after a 71 I knew I was in with a chance with Woosie way down the leaderboard after a pair of level-par rounds. Then, however, like the great champion he is, I saw Woosie had turned the screw with back-to-back eagles on eight and nine to surge up the leaderboard. <br /><br />I didn&rsquo;t really know what else he had shot while I was playing, it was just a case of playing my own game and aiming to finish top two, while hoping he didn&rsquo;t finish top 10. <br /><br />There was so much pressure over the closing holes but, after a shaky 18th in windy conditions, I eventually signed for a 69 and third place before later finding out that Woosie&rsquo;s 71 was only good enough for a share of 18th. It was then I knew the title was mine.<br /><br />Woosie and I have locked horns for a good 40 years and it&rsquo;s great to still be doing it. He&rsquo;s a dear friend and a great champion but it felt so good to beat him, I can tell you.<br /><br /><strong>SATISFYING</strong><br />Now, the focus leans towards retaining the Order of Merit and moving closer to Tommy Horton&rsquo;s record of five titles. With each year that goes by you get that little bit older, so it&rsquo;s not going to be easy, and Woosie, I understand, has already said he intends to win it back next year. <br /><br />I won&rsquo;t let this tremendous feeling of being the best Seniors player go without a fight.<br /><br />While I was preparing for my final round in Spain, Phil Mickelson was winning the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai, but how satisfying was it to see both Ernie Els and Rory McIlroy finish so strongly with 63s to challenge him at the top.<br /><br />Young Rory is now perfectly poised in the Race to Dubai, but with Westwood, Kaymer, Fisher and Casey also in the hunt, it&rsquo;s all set to go down to the wire &ndash; just like it did between Woosie and I.<br />