Bjørn was brilliant as he confirms his Legend status.
The victory was Bjørn’s second on the Legends Tour and it was a spectacular finish to the 2022 MCB Tour Championship!
He had trailed the first-round leader – and defending champion – Jarmo Sandelin by four shots after opening with a 68. But in making three birdies in the final four holes of his Friday round Bjørn had given notice that he had found his form and over the next 36 holes he first caught, then passed, and ultimately thrashed the field.
In the second round he carded seven birdies and two eagles in a score of 61 that would have been a new course record but for preferred lies being in play. He made yet another birdie on the first hole of the final round to stretch his lead and maintained control of the chasers throughout Sunday’s action in exemplary fashion. He eventually signed for a 67 and a 54-hole total of 20-under 196 that gave him a dominant seven-shot victory over England’s Simon Brown and South Africa’s James Kingston with Clark Dennis and Adilson Da Silva sharing fourth.
Afterwards, Bjørn revealed that, despite holding a four-shot lead heading into the final round, he had been a little nervous.
“A big lead is a weird one because you don’t know what to expect,” he said. Perhaps understandably, he didn’t add that he had squandered his two previous leads of at least four shots in the 2014 BMW PGA Championship and 2005 European Open.
He explained that he had come up with a plan to avoid making the same mistake again.
“I sat in my hotel room this morning thinking about it,” he said. “I decided to take aim at a score and thought that if someone beats it fair enough. That target was 20-under so I’m very happy that’s what I scored. I avoided mistakes, I avoided bogeys and I avoided giving the field any encouragement.”
He was also thrilled at how the Legend Course had suited him. “I had very few expectations coming in here but the golf course fitted my eye,” he said. “I also took advantage of the par-5s. I played them very well and could play steady on the other holes. It’s just been an amazing week and I’m very happy.”
Kingston had entered the week holding the top spot in the season’s rankings and he was desperate to end the week there and with it lift the John Jacobs Trophy. However, he made a poor start, eventually signing for a 74 in the first round. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, his response was magnificent. He thrashed rounds of 65 and 64 to clinch second place and with it confirm his No. 1 status for 2022.
The South African said: “It’s amazing to think that we spent the whole year playing and it all came down to the last tournament, the last round and then the last few holes. I’m very proud and very relieved. I dug deep this weekend and it’s just unbelievable.”
The man who came closest to beating him in the rankings, Brazil’s Adilson Da Silva, had the consolation of being presented with the Barry Lane Rookie of the Year trophy.
Main image credit: Legends Tour