Thursday, November 05, 2009

Senior Tour set for fascinating finale as

Torrance and Woosnam seek repeats

By STEVE TODD, European Seniors Tour press officer
The European Senior Tour season reaches a dramatic conclusion this week with eight players – including two former Ryder Cup Captains - heading to the OKI Castellón Senior Tour Championship with a chance of winning the Order of Merit.
Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam are both targeting successful defences in Spain – Woosnam of the John Jacobs Trophy he captured last year as leading Senior Tour player, while Torrance will attempt to retain the championship he won 12 months ago.
Welshman Woosnam currently leads the Order of Merit by €19,380 from England’s Glenn Ralph, with Scotland’s Torrance (third) and fourth placed Carl Mason, of England, also firmly in the frame to finish the year as Senior Tour Number One.
Should the leading quartet slip up in the season finale, England’s Peter Mitchell, Zimbabwean Tony Johnstone, South African Bertus Smit and Bob Cameron of England are all poised to strike, with a first prize of €64,433 on offer at Club de Campo del Mediterráneo.
Woosnam has enjoyed another impressive season on the Senior Tour, winning the Irish Seniors Open in association with Fáilte Ireland and AIB Bank in June and recording four other top ten finishes, including fourth in his last appearance in the lucrative Casa Serena Open.
Last year, in his rookie campaign, the 2006 Ryder Cup winning Captain became the first former Harry Vardon Trophy winner on The European Tour to win the Senior Tour Order of Merit but the contest has been much closer this season, with the outcome going right to the wire. Woosnam said: “It’s been a good battle in the Order of Merit this year between myself and Sam and it should be an exciting finish in Spain. Of course Glenn and Carl are still in with a shout of winning it as well and they have both played very well this year so I know I’ll have to perform this week.
“It would be great if I could retain the Order of Merit – it’s something that I never managed to do on the European Tour so to do it as a senior would give me a lot of satisfaction. I’ve had two fantastic years on the Senior Tour and to win my second John Jacobs Trophy in a row would round it off nicely.”
Pushing Woosnam all the way this season has been 2002 Ryder Cup winning Captain Torrance, whose resurgence in form can be traced back to the OKI Castellón Senior Tour Championship 12 months ago.
The 56 year old struggled with a wrist injury for two years following his Order of Merit wins in 2005 and 2006 but ended last season on a high when he finished two strokes clear of Chilean Angel Fernandez and Japan’s Katsuyoshi Tomori.
Torrance said: “My victory last year was very sweet. It was a great way to finish the year and it kept my proud record going of winning in each of my seasons on the Senior Tour.
“I said after that win that I wanted to beat Woosie to the Number One spot this year and I still have a good chance of doing that. It’s all to play for.
“I’ve had a good season so far, winning in Barbados and playing so well in the Senior Open at my home course Sunningdale, so it would be the perfect way to end the year if I could defend this title and clinch the Order of Merit too.”
A successful defence of the title, combined with Woosnam and Ralph’s failure to make an impact, would see Torrance equal Mason’s three Order of Merit crowns, leaving him two behind Tommy Horton’s record of five John Jacobs Trophies.
Mason, meanwhile, could match another Horton benchmark - the most Senior Tour victories - as he chases his 23rd title. The 56 year old has been back to his very best form in the second half of the season, winning The De Vere Collection PGA Seniors Championship in June and the last event, the Benahavis Senior Masters presented by ISPS, which was also played in Spain.
While Mason, Torrance and Woosnam are all previous winners of the John Jacobs Trophy, Ralph is chasing his first, as he looks to sign off his most successful season as a professional in style.
The 53 year old has made a superb return to the game after missing the entire 2008 campaign due to a broken ankle suffered in a swimming pool accident, finishing tied sixth in the season opening Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters presented by The Stapleford Forum before winning his maiden title in the Cleveland Golf/Srixon Scottish Seniors Open
He will tee it up in Spain in fine form, after finishing tied second in the Casa Serena Open and tied sixth in the Benahavis Senior Masters presented by ISPS.
An intriguing subplot this week will be the race for rookie of the year, with Roger Chapman (12th in the Order of Merit) facing competition from Gordon Brand Jnr (15th), Chris Williams (18th), Mike Harwood (28th) and Mike Cunning (35th), with current leader Peter Senior (tenth) not playing in Spain.
It is the second consecutive year that the OKI Castellón Senior Tour Championship has been played at Club de Campo del Mediterráneo, which also hosted the CASTELLÓ MASTERS Costa Azahar on The European Tour a fortnight ago.



Post a Comment

<< Home

Copyright © Colin Farquharson

If you can't find what you are looking for.... please check the Archive List or search this site with Google