Magnus P Atlevi showed great character to win the European Tour Properties Senior Classic with a closing 67 to post a total of 14 under par at Lighthouse Golf and Spa Resort.
The fight for the title proved to be a two-horse race, with Atlevi just getting the better of Stephen Dodd who, following a double bogey on the 18th, finished on 11 under par, three shots behind the winner.
The Swede started quickly by firing three birdies in his first five holes, but three bogeys over the next five meant the momentum swung towards Dodd, who took the lead with a par at the tenth.
Atlevi then bounced back as the final group headed towards home. Three successive birdies and a further gain at the 16th meant he approached the 18th with a one-shot lead. As it transpired, Dodd carded a double bogey at the final hole and Atlevi safely holed out for par and victory.
The 53 year old admitted to being overwhelmed after securing his victory and was delighted with how he bounced back after dropping shots around the turn.
“I am really happy, especially because I bounced back,” he said. “I had a good start and it was all going according to plan and then things went sideways and continued going sideways.
“I lost the lead and somehow managed to bounce back with the birdies on the back nine. It’s a good feeling.
“I dropped a few shots because the guys were making long putts for birdies and I could just see it going the wrong way for me. You just have to dig in.
“I made 12 and 13 from ten metres and then I stiffed it on 14, which was crucial. That was the par three where I made bogeys on the previous two days. I was 166 metres from the hole and I played a full six iron to three feet, so it was probably the shot of the week.”
The battle with Dodd went all the way to the final hole and Atlevi enjoyed the competition with his playing partner in Bulgaria.
“I saw the scoreboard on 15, I saw it was down to two men which is kind of what you want,” he said. “You can relax because you think the worse you can get is second, but you obviously want to win.
“We both played 16 brilliantly, knocked it on in two and he had an eagle putt from 15 feet to make it even, but we both two-putted. We both got par on 17 and then 18 was a completely different hole. The wind was against so it was a tough finishing hole. I hit the green and Dodd missed.
“Dodd had trouble behind the green so I knew a three-putt would be fine, so it makes it that little bit easier. I had a good feel on the greens all week long so it was a good finish.”
The Swede’s last win was the 2016 Paris Legends Championship and he’s determined not to wait as long for his next victory.
“Time goes quickly when you get older and also because I enjoy playing on tour so much,” he said. “I’ve got to make sure it’s not going to be two years before my next win.
“What we all want to do is win. We’re all getting towards the end of our careers and when we win, we cherish it. It’s great to have a second win.”
James Kingston continued his good run of form by securing third place with a four under par 67 on Day Three, finishing on ten under par for the week. Peter Fowler and Mauricio Molina were a shot further back on nine under par, while José Coceres and Brendan McGovern finished on eight under.
Argentinian Coceres signed for a stunning seven under par 64, which would have been a course record if preferred lies weren’t in operation.
With his victory at the European Tour Senior Classic, Atlevi moves to tenth on the Staysure Tour Order of Merit, while Dodd moves up a place to third following his second consecutive runner-up finish.
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