Barry Lane may have worn ‘tartan trews’ when he won the SSE Scottish Senior Open last year, but the European Senior Tour’s own Tartan Army is ready to show the Englishman who wears the trousers ahead of this week’s 20th anniversary tournament at Fairmont St Andrews.
Lane, who also won the Scottish Open on The European Tour in 1988, is bidding for a ‘Tartan Treble’, having claimed his maiden European Senior Tour title in this event in 2010 before successfully defending his title 12 months ago.
The former Ryder Cup player wore tartan trousers for the final round last year as a nod to his long held affinity for golf in Scotland, and they proved lucky for him as he eagled the 18th hole for a closing round of 66 to finish two shots clear of American Gary Koch.
“I had the trousers for quite a long time but never really had the opportunity to wear them,” he said. “As an Englishman you are a bit worried that people might get upset if you wear them but I asked around and people said it would be a good idea.
“So I did wear them for the final round and I shot 66 so that was nice. I love Scottish golf and I love playing up here.
“I played well in The Senior Open Championship at Turnberry a couple of weeks ago and I enjoy links golf. Last year was the first time I had defended a title and it would be great to get the hat-trick. But obviously there are a lot of great players in the field this week so it will be tough.”
Lane’s back-to-back wins continued the recent English dominance of the event, following victories by his compatriots Peter Mitchell in 2008 and Glenn Ralph in 2009. It is now six years since a Scot claimed the title when Sam Torrance won at the Marriott Dalmahoy Hotel in 2006, but there is a strong home challenge bidding to end that barren run this week.
Gordon Brand Jnr, John Chillas, Ross Drummond, Bill Longmuir, Stephen McAllister, Andrew Oldcorn, Peter Smith and Torrance joined Lane in donning tartan ‘breeks’ on the eve of the tournament, and former Ryder Cup Captain Torrance is particularly keen to win on the course he designed at Fairmont St Andrews.
“My form’s not been great but I’ve been working hard for the last two weeks since missing the cut at the Senior Open,” said Torrance.
“I do love this course and obviously I know it well, but I’ve not managed to perform here over the past few years so hopefully I can do that this year and it would be nice to get a Scottish winner.
“There’s no extra pressure really because I designed the course but I would like to do well. It’s an advantage rather than a hindrance.”
Drummond finished as the leading home player last year in a share of seventh position while Oldcorn heads into the event as the leading Scot on the European Senior Tour Order of Merit in 11th position.
It is McAllister’s first appearance in the SSE Scottish Senior Open having turned 50 in February and he will be looking to build on a share of fourth place in last month’s Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open.
The £250,000 SSE Scottish Senior Open, which celebrates its 20th edition this year, is sponsored for the first time by SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy) in a partnership between green energy innovators SSE, Atkins, Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe, Subsea 7 and Technip.