Chapman relishing US Senior PGA defence

4/24/2013 7:04:21 AM
Roger Chapman with the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy after winning the US Senior PGA  (Getty Images)
Roger Chapman with the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy after winning the US Senior PGA (Getty Images)

Roger Chapman was reunited with the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy as he made his first visit to Bellerive Country Club ahead of defending his title in the US Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid next month.

The Englishman met members of the media and played a practice round at the St Louis venue, which will host the Championship for the first time from May 23-26.  

Chapman provided one of golf’s most stunning stories last year when he captured his maiden Senior Tour victory at Benton Harbor in Michigan, before going on to add the US Senior Open title in the same state two months later, ending the year as the winner of the Senior Tour Order of Merit.  

The 53 year old admits he is still a little overwhelmed by the attention he has received following his impressive accomplishments, which all began with his victory in the US Senior PGA Championship.

"It (winning) means everything to me," said Chapman, the first Englishman to win the most historic Senior title. "You just look at all the names on that trophy – Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino and Hale Irwin, all legends of the game. To be a part of that club is a proud moment for me and an honour.

Joining Chapman on the course in Missouri were local and city community leaders, media, and PGA of America and KitchenAid executives. Next month, Bellerive becomes just the third club in the United States to have hosted all four rotating men's professional major championships (the US PGA Championship, US  Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, US Open and US Senior Open).

"The year 2012 was a special year for my family and for me," said Chapman. "I went to Benton Harbor with no thoughts about winning the event. I had played only one event on the European Senior Tour all year. It was just a wonderful experience. Then to come back and win the US Senior Open at another wonderful course – Indianwood (in Lake Orion, Mich.) – a few weeks later was very special to me as well. It proved I wasn't a one-time wonder."

Chapman said that enjoyed playing Bellerive, adding "it will certainly be a challenge when it's being played under Championship conditions."

"Bellerive is an excellent course," said Chapman. "With the weather in the past week, it's not been a great time for it, but I'm sure that when it's time for the Championship in a couple of weeks, it will be in tip-top condition. I know my counterparts on the European Senior Tour are champing at the bit because they haven't played since last December."