In-form Lane set for Scottish defence

8/15/2011 11:05:42 AM
Barry Lane   (Getty Images)
Barry Lane (Getty Images)

Barry Lane returns to the Home of Golf hoping to capitalise on his recent run of impressive form when he defends his Cleveland Golf/Srixon Scottish Senior Open title this week.

The Englishman heads to Fairmont St Andrews in fifth place on the European Senior Tour Order of Merit and in firm contention for the John Jacobs Trophy after five top ten finishes so far this season, including a European-best fifth place in The Senior Open Championship last month.

Former Ryder Cup player Lane bookended that performance with top 20 finishes on The European Tour, sharing 14th place in the Barclays Scottish Open and tying for 17th in the Irish Open presented by Discover Ireland. 

Lane captured his maiden Senior Tour title over the Torrance Course last year, completing a Scottish double 22 years after also winning his first of five European Tour titles in the land where golf was born in the 1988 Scottish Open.

The 51 year old finished four strokes clear of compatriots Jim Rhodes and Glenn Ralph, the 2009 champion, 12 months ago to win on just his fourth appearance as a senior golfer.

He will face one of the strongest fields in the 19 year history of the Cleveland Golf/Srixon Scottish Senior Open this week, with two-time Major champion Sandy Lyle making his debut in the event.

Lyle, whose victory in the ISPS Handa Senior World Championship presented by Mission Hills China was his first in 19 years, will be hoping to become the first home winner of the Cleveland Golf/Srixon Scottish Senior Open since former Ryder Cup teammate Sam Torrance in 2006.

Former Ryder Cup Captain and three-time Senior Tour Order of Merit winner Torrance helped re-design the Fairmont St Andrews course that bears his name and after just two top ten finishes so far in 2011, the Scot will be eager to perform well on familiar territory.

Another Scot in the field is Andrew Oldcorn, who is currently third behind Tom Watson and Peter Fowler in the 2011 Order of Merit after capturing his maiden Senior Tour title by nine strokes in The De Vere Club PGA Seniors Championship in June. 

The home challenge is further enhanced by another former Ryder Cup player, Gordon Brand Jnr, 2004 winner Bill Longmuir, John Chillas, Ross Drummond and Fraser Mann.

Australian Fowler will hope to strengthen his Order of Merit credentials in Scotland after a share of seventh place in The Senior Open Championship at Walton Heath. Prior to that he finished runner up in the Van Lanschot Senior Open before capturing his second title of the campaign in the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open to become the only multiple winner on the Senior Tour so far in 2011.

It is the third consecutive year that leading golf manufacturer Cleveland Golf/Srixon has sponsored the event, with Fairmont St Andrews also hosting the tournament for the third year in a row.