The evergreen Trish Johnson, who continues to display all the sturdy longevity of an industrial rivet, screwed the nut on the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open at sun-soaked Archerfield Links yesterday and in the process created her own piece of history.
At the age of 48, the English veteran became the oldest champion on the Ladies' European Tour, pinching the record from the grande dame of the women's game, Laura Davies, who was 47 when she captured the Indian Open back in 2010.
It was something of a redemption on Scottish turf for Johnson, who has twice led this event coming to the closing few holes in recent years only to slither off the top on the run-in. "I think this tournament owes me one," said Johnson, who led by six with a round to play and closed with a one-over 73 for a seven-under 209 and a two stroke victory over the 2008 champion, Gwladys Nocera. "If I'd thrown this one away, with a six-shot lead, I would have been gutted."
The fact that the Solheim Cup stalwart had been nursing a bad back prior to the championship, and was on the cusp of withdrawing, only added to the sense of surprised jubilation. "I expect to win every week but not this week as my back was so bad in the build-up," she added. "I had no expectations really. It is a just a ridiculously stupid game at times."
With that healthy overnight advantage, Johnson made a purposeful start to her bid to put the tin lid on a first European Tour triumph in four years. A brace of birdies at the second and third set her on the way but, up ahead, there was a young Scot trying her best to be the thorn in the side of this English rose.
Sally Watson, sharing second after 36-holes, mounted an early assault and three birdies on her first six holes got her to within three shots during a raid that was aided by Johnson's double-bogey on the seventh.
Watson picked up another shot on 14 and when Johnson leaked a shot on that same hole, the lead was only two. Back-to-back bogeys on 15 and 16, however, scuppered Watson's hopes but there were plenty of positives to take. Her 70 for a four-under 212 left her in a tie for third and kept the 24-year-old from Elie on course for the tour's rookie of the year award.
"The fact I'm a bit disappointed with a third place finish can't be bad," said Watson. "I know there is plenty of room for improvement so that is the exciting thing going forward."
Glasgow's Kylie Walker shared 11th on 219 while defending champion Catriona Matthew had a 70 for 220. It was Johnson's day, though, as she toasted a first tour triumph since 2010. "I didn't realise it was that long ago," she added. There's probably a few more to come yet.