Golf: Morgan set for a late retirement: Newcomer leads the Senior Tour

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The Independent Online
IT SEEMS almost unfair. Some of the senior citizens don't have their own teeth let alone their own hair and then along comes a 50-year- old whipper-snapper to kick sand in their bi-focals. John Morgan, one of the freshest-faced recruits to the Senior Tour, won the Forte PGA Championship over the Old Course here yesterday with an almost faultless performance.

It was Morgan's second win in a row, his third in his debut season and he leads the Order of Merit with nearly pounds 50,000. Morgan shot 67 yesterday and, at seven-under- par for the tournament, won by two strokes from David Creamer, an Englishman based in Germany, and by three from Renato Campagnoli of Italy.

'Carry on like this and you'll be able to retire,' Creamer told Morgan. Morgan's response epitomised the more sedate world of seniors golf: 'As Julius Boros said, I already play golf and go fishing. What do I need to retire for?' A reasonable question, although without the Seniors Tour - in its infancy here compared to the phenomenally successful nostalgia fix provided by Trevino, Palmer and Co in the US - Morgan and others like him would spend more of their time on the river bank.

Morgan, who won pounds 12,500 yesterday, had a solitary success on the European Tour, winning the Jersey Open in 1986. 'This,' he said, 'is fantastic. I'm just a happier person. On the regular tour, my head was off. I just wasn't playing well. I'm in awe of players, like Coles and Huggett. I'll never play in the Ryder Cup and whatever I do I'll never catch them up. I haven't got that much of a career behind me.' It's in front of him. He may have turned 50 but he is young enough and fit enough to hang out in the leisure centre of an hotel rather than the bar reminiscing, in his case, about the bad old days.

His wife, Christine, an English teacher on summer holiday whom he married earlier this year, caddied for him. 'She fed me bananas and sweets. We've got a great relationship.'

Morgan, from Hoylake, made only one mistake in the final round, missing the green at the par-three 15th. It hardly mattered, for at the previous hole he had distanced himself from the field with an eagle three, holing from 20 feet from the fringe.

Creamer, at 51 another new kid on the block, was the only player to keep pace with Morgan until the eagle. Creamer was born in Perivale near London and has spent the last four years working as a club professional at a course in Stuttgart.

Had Creamer won he would have been the first senior winner in history with a plait to his hair. Table tennis aficianodos would recognise the name. In the Sixties he was the British No 2.

Creamer, who won pounds 8,330, the biggest purse of his career, represented Great Britain and Ireland in the PGA Cup match against the United States in 1974 and the following year underwent an operation on a brain tumour. 'I became a club pro to try and earn some money,' he said. In teaching Germans how to play golf he earns every penny.

(Photograph omitted)