Jimmy Heggarty (Getty Images)
A record number of players entered Monday’s pre-qualifying event for this week’s ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship, with American Zeke Martinez leading the 23 successful qualifiers home at De Vere Mottram Hall, in Cheshire.
Martinez carded a four under par round of 69 to secure his place in the first regular event of the 2013 European Senior Tour season, which carries a prize fund of £260,000.
A total of 14 PGA Members also guaranteed their berths in the field alongside the likes of former Ryder Cup Captains Mark James, Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam.
England’s Mark Howell finished a stroke behind Martinez in a four-way tie for second place.
Also through to the Championship, with level par or better making the grade, were: Kevin Phillips (Winterfield), Albert McKenzie (Saunton), Shaun Ball (South Staff ), John Twissell (Garstang CGC), Warwick Holland (Pitcheroak), Mitch Kierstenson (Penfold Park), Keith Baxter (Buchanan Castle), Gerry Burke (Curragh), Phillip Gresswell (Bonn), Alan Gibson (Sherdley Park), Charles Haynes (Olton), Jimmy Heggarty (Claremorris) and Tony Charnley.
The ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship is one of only two Senior Tour events which stage a qualifier, the other being The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex.
Like The Senior Open Championship and the Tour’s other two Majors, the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship is a four round tournament, starting on Thursday.