PHILLIP Price won the John Jacobs Trophy for the first time after topping the 2019 Staysure Tour Order of Merit.
Price held off his four challengers for the No. 1 spot in the final event of 2019 – the MCB Tour Championship – Mauritius.
South African James Kingston was the main danger and was looking set for the win he needed to overhaul Price, at the start of the third and final round, on Sunday.
Price moved up to a share of third place during Sunday’s final round, having slipped briefly at one point on the back nine to just outside the top 10 finish, which would guarantee him the crown.
A burst of three birdies in three holes from the 12th looked to have put the result beyond doubt for Price, as Sandelin surged past the field to go one clear of Kingston.
But the 2002 Ryder Cup hero then dropped shots at the 15th and 16th before a birdie four at the dramatic final hole at Costance Bel Mare Plage lifted him inside the top five and a total of 2,888 points on the Staysure Order of Merit
Price was the most consistent player during the year. Last year the Welshman finished second on the season-long rankings behind two-time John Jacobs Trophy winner Paul Broadhurst.
But the 53-year-old went one better in 2019 to win the trophy – finishing 361.6 points ahead of Kingston in second place.
“To be No. 1 after 19 tournaments is really important to me,” said Price. “I’ve never won an Order of Merit of any type. I wanted to be number one, not number two or three, so I’m delighted.
“I finished second last year to Paul Broadhurst, which was nice – but it didn’t feel great. But to be No. 1 and have the trophy is extra special.
“Coming into the final three weeks I was leading the Staysure Tour Order of Merit, but I knew there were a lot of points to play for at the events.
“Barry Lane won (Madagascar), then Peter Fowler won (Seychelles), and James Kingston was leading after 36 holes this week and he could’ve passed me if I hadn’t finished inside the top 10.
“It’s a massive relief and I’m delighted to be Staysure Tour No. 1,” added Price.
“I needed to play quite well. I managed to make quite a few birdies early on and kept a buffer between myself and the players outside the top 10 and in the end Jarmo won.
“It was nice to birdie the last and celebrate. It always nice to make a nice putt and punch the air, realising I’m No. 1.”
Price, who famously beat Phil Mickelson in the Sunday singles at The Belfry 17 years ago to help Europea defeat the USA, won the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship, at Ken’s London Club, in August – one of 12 top 10s during the year.
Lancashire’s David Shacklady, who won twice in September at The Sinclair Invitational and Paris Legends Championship, finished third on the Staysure Order of Merit.
Frenchman Jean-Francios Remesy and Australian Peter Fowler, winners of the Farmfoods European Legends Links Championship and the MCB Tour Championship – Seychelles, respectively, claimed fourth and fifth place on the season-long rankings.
Berkshire’s Barry Lane, who needed a second win in three weeks on the Indian Ocean swing, finished sixth overall, with Peter Baker, from the West Midlands in eighth.
Scotland’s Paul Lawrie finished 11th in his rookie year.
•To see the final Staysure Order of Merit click here.