NORTH BERWICK, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 21: Paul Eales of England poses with the trophy after the final round of the Prostate Cancer UK Scottish Senior Open played over the Fidra Course, Archerfield Links on August 21, 2016 in North Berwick, United Kingdom. (Photo by Phil Inglis/Getty Images)

Eales back in top spot

Seniors victory makes Paul only the seventh in history to win on three tours

Paul Eales claimed his first victory in 22 years as he secured a maiden European Senior Tour title at the Prostate Cancer UK Scottish Senior Open.

Sunderland fan Eales – who spent his childhood living in Cleadon, near Sunderland – trailed the overnight leader Ronan Rafferty by seven shots going into the final day at Archerfield.

Rafferty, a former attached professional at Slaley Hall, closed with a disappointing 78 as Eales made a run of birdies on the 10th, 11th and 12th before holding his nerve at the 18th with a birdie putt from 10ft for a round of 68 and a one-shot victory.

The 53-year-old Eales is a frequent visitor to the North East, and while now widely recognised for his broadcasting work as a regular golf analyst and commentator on television and radio, he was delighted to have finally won on the Senior Tour.

The victory makes Eales the seventh player to win on the Challenge Tour, European Tour and European Senior Tour, adding to his victories in the 1991 Audi Open and 1994 Extremadura Open.

“That is the special thing, knowing that I’ve won on the Challenge Tour on the way up, on the European Tour and now the Seniors,” said Eales. “It’s extremely special and I know I’ve now joined a small band of brothers who have won on all three tours.”

He was unaware of his position on the leaderboard after his run of birdies, where he was alongside Peter Fowler, Santiago Luna and Rafferty.

“It wasn’t until I made it to the 14th green that I could see that the other guys were coming back. I knew I was in it then. I putted on 17 and saw I was tied for the lead so thought ‘let’s see what happens’. I pulled my shot to the green a little bit in the wind but I just had to pick my line and roll it down – it went in the middle and was brilliant.”

Eales reserved special praise for his wife Sharon, who caddies for him on the Senior Tour, crediting her for her part in a memorable weekend on the DJ Russell-designed Fidra course.

“Without her I wouldn’t have been here,” he said. “Most players will tell you, on tour there are a lot of scars and she’s encouraged me, nursing the wounds along the way and we have a blast.”