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Peter Baker, a 3-times winner on the Legends Tour this season, leads the way in the rankings. He took the trophy and the ranking points from his wins at the Irish Legends, JCB Championship and the Staysure Seniors PGA Championship and he along with the chasing pack will be keen to know how things could possibly play out over the next few weeks.
Victory for Baker this week, who is also our tournament host at the Farmfoods European Senior Masters at the La Manga Club in Spain, wouldn’t guarantee him the Order of Merit title, there’s no scenario where he can seal the title this week – although victory would add to the strength of his position at the top of the standings!
As long as he finishes the week in a tie or better than his nearest rival, Adilson Da Silva, then he is guaranteed to be leading the race going into the final event – the MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius.
Ahead of the Farmfoods European Senior Masters, Baker said: “It’s quite amazing this season, I didn’t think it was going to go as well as it has done. I was hoping I was going to win, that was my aim really to win an event, but I got a bit of confidence from winning the Irish Legends and it has gone on from there. I’ve had a really, really good run so I’m just trying to keep it going.
“Obviously, the MCB Road to Mauritius is something I would like to win, I think anyone in my position would want to do it. There’s a lot of points to be played for and it can change very quickly – we saw last week with James Kingston shooting a 61. There’s a lot of good players out there, so for me there’s a long way to go.”
For Da Silva, his hopes on the season-long honours rest on him finishing above Baker in each of the remaining three events as well as Baker being outside of the top ten.
A win for the Brazilian this week in Spain would see him take the 450 points on offer, but not enough for him to overtake the Englishman. Da Silva has also won three times this season on the Legends Tour. However, if he was to finish well this week and then win in Vietnam at the Vinpearl DIC Legends Vietnam 2023 where there is 825 points on offer to the winner, then he could sit above Baker going into the final tournament.
Ideally, Adilson requires a top three in each of these final three events to give himself a decent chance.
“Every tournament with the Legends Tour is special and to be out here chasing down Peter, who is playing so well, I’m just going to have to be so focussed on every shot. I’m just trying to enjoy it and trying to do my best. I know I’m very far behind but if I have a couple of good finishes to the end then you never know, but I just have to throw my best at him and we’ll see how it goes.”
It’s nothing I can control, only he can control the outcome if he plays well, so I just have to keep playing well. You never know though, sometimes when you are ahead the temptation is to keep your lead and sometimes play safe, so it’s always easier to chase a lead than to protect it. He’s playing well, I just keep trying to play even better and that’s all there is to it.”
Alex Cejka and Vijay Singh have a possibility of taking the honours, sitting in 3rd and 4th places in the rankings right now. However, neither are playing in Spain this week and would need to win both of the final two events with Baker and Da Silva finishing in the bottom half of the field at those two tournaments, to stand a chance.
The real outsider to win the season long race is last week’s winner on the Legends Tour, James Kingston. He took the MCB Road to Mauritius title last year but despite his victory in Italy at the weekend, he would now need to win all three of the final events to stand a chance. Not just that, he too would need Peter Baker and Adilson Da Silva to be outside the top 15 in both of them.
Many possible outcomes, but it appears to be something of a two-horse race, with the pressure predominantly on the top two to see who will be crowned this season’s MCB Road to Mauritius champion.