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Tim Thelen (pictured by Getty Images) followed in the footsteps of Colin Montgomerie when he carded a closing level par round of 72 to win the Senior Open de Portugal at Vidago Palace.

The American was second behind his former Houston Baptist University team-mate at the Travis Perkins Masters and then third when Montgomerie won last week in Moscow, but this time he earned top spot on the podium after a controlled performance which earned him the fourth European Tour title of his career.

Thelen started the day three shots in front of Greg Turner, Des Smyth and Carl Mason after opening rounds of 68 and 64, but in the end he had to face both a late charge from Miguel Angel Martin plus a weather delay before claiming the €33,750 first prize.

The players were called off the course at 4.35 local time but when play resumed forty minutes later Thelen promptly birdied the 17th to open a two shot lead before taking a four down the last to finish one shot ahead of Martin on 12 under par 204.

Mason and Smyth both closed with one under par rounds of 71 to share third place on 206, while Paraguay’s Angel Franco produced one of the biggest moves of the day, carding a seven under par 65 to move up into a share of fifth place alongside Joé Rivero, Steen Tinning, Greg Turner and Chris Williams one shot further behind

“This week I played as good as I can play,” said Thelen. “I’ve played good for the last two weeks but this was even better. I think I hit 16 green today and that’s pretty impressive round here.

“Today, I just did what I needed to. The pins were a lot more difficult today and Des caught me about the ninth so I was under a bit of pressure but I birdied the tenth and just tried to stay patient after that.

“I’ve been struggling with my back all week but today it was much better,” he added. “I almost pulled out after it went into spasm on the second hole yesterday but today, thank God, for the first time in nine or ten days, I didn’t feel a thing.

“It feels so good to be back in the winners’ circle again. I won three times in 2012 but I didn’t play well last year at all and was lucky to keep my card. However, this year, I’ve played well pretty much all the time. I just didn’t get it done until now. This week, I did.”

Martin is still seeking his first European Senior Tour victory but he believes it is just round the corner after closing with a fine five under par 67 his third top ten in succession.

The Spaniard started the day six shots behind Thelen but cut the deficit to four with an outward nine of 33 and then posted three more coming home to record the third runner-up finish since turning 50 a couple of years ago.

“It’s getting close,” he said. “I was ninth at the Travis Perkins and tied third in the Russia so I knew I was playing well coming in here. I just have to stay patient and wait my turn. But I’m happy with my game and that’s the most important thing to me right now.”

Complete final round scores

204 T Thelen (USA) 68 64 72,

205 M Martin (Esp) 72 66 67,

206 D Smyth (Irl) 67 68 71, C Mason (Eng) 66 69 71,

207 A Franco (Par) 71 71 65, G Turner (Nzl) 68 67 72, S Tinning (Den) 67 71 69, J Rivero (Esp) 69 70 68, C Williams (RSA) 63 73 71,

209 A Murray (Eng) 67 75 67, G Rusnak (USA) 67 71 71, P Fowler (Aus) 70 74 65, C Monasterio (Arg) 68 71 70, J Smith (USA) 69 69 71,

210 S Brown (Eng) 71 67 72, J Carriles (Esp) 71 71 68, G Ryall (Eng) 70 69 71, B Longmuir (Sco) 71 70 69,

211 G Wolstenholme (Eng) 66 77 68, D Russell (Eng) 69 74 68, R Gibson (Can) 73 67 71,

212 L Carbonetti (Arg) 71 68 73, J Bruner (USA) 70 70 72,

213 J Quiros (Esp) 68 73 72, A Sherborne (Eng) 73 70 70, P Wesselingh (Eng) 70 73 70, A Oldcorn (Sco) 73 66 74, M Davis (Eng) 74 68 71, G Manson (Aut) 73 67 73, S McAllister (Sco) 74 68 71,

214 B Ruangkit (Tha) 67 72 75, P Eales (Eng) 70 73 71,

215 B Cameron (Eng) 72 75 68, G Emerson (Eng) 73 71 71,

216 R Thompson (USA) 72 72 72, P Golding (Eng) 68 75 73, S Van Vuuren (RSA) 70 73 73,

217 S Bennett (Eng) 71 72 74, J Gould (Eng) 71 73 73, J Harrison (Eng) 72 73 72, D Hospital (Esp) 73 73 71, S Luna (Esp) 71 74 72, M McLean (Eng) 69 78 70,

218 M Belsham (Eng) 76 74 68, M Harwood (Aus) 76 74 68, M Farry (Fra) 73 73 72, B Conser (USA) 77 70 71, J Remesy (Fra) 71 73 74,

219 G Joyner (Aus) 70 76 73, N Job (Eng) 76 73 70, J Berendt (Arg) 70 73 76, R Sabarros (Fra) 77 72 70, P Walton (Irl) 73 72 74,

220 S Cipa (Eng) 72 76 72,

221 W Grant (Eng) 74 74 73, G Brand (Eng) 70 72 79,

222 J Sallat (Fra) 75 72 75,

223 D James (Sco) 75 74 74,

224 M Cunning (USA) 71 79 74, M Bianco (Ita) 75 75 74, K Spurgeon (Eng) 76 76 72,

225 P Jonas (Can) 82 75 68, H Carbonetti (Arg) 71 75 79,

228 J Laforce (Can) 76 78 74,

229 J Cañizares (Esp) 73 80 76, T Lawrence (Eng) 75 75 79,

235 E Polland (Nir) 75 80 80,

236 B Marchbank (Sco) 81 81 74,

238 V Garcia (Esp) 75 81 82,

240 J Dias (Por) 82 77 81,

246 A Garrido (Esp) 90 77 79,

** I Woosnam (Wal) 77 RT  0,

Source: European Tour

Author

Graham J Gordon, The Editor and Owner, GolfblogspotUK

The GolfblogspotUK website is owned and run by former Walker Cup player and European Tour card holder, Graham J Gordon, from Scotland, the Home of Golf. The owner is a golf fanatic who had to retire early from competitive tour play due to a back injury that required surgery. Graham wishes to share his knowledge and own experiences of the game with the GolfblogspotUK community and to receive your feedback on all aspects of the sport. Graham has been playing the game for over 20 years and received a great deal of pleasure from the sport. He has met several friends and visited many different places around the world, thanks to playing the great game of golf. Time to put a little back into the game to help others.

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