Woosnam wishing for Welsh success at Royal Porthcawl

10/06/2013 12:57:03
 Ian Woosnam   (Getty Images)
Ian Woosnam (Getty Images)
Home favourite Ian Woosnam will headline the field alongside defending champion Barry Lane as the Speedy Services Wales Senior Open returns to Royal Porthcawl Golf Club for the first time since 2010.

Since opening his 2013 campaign with a tied 59th place finish at the US Senior PGA Championship, Woosnam has enjoyed great success on both the Champions Tour (tied seventh at this month’s Principal Charity Classic) and back in Europe at last week’s ISPS HANDA PGA Seniors Championship (third).

Buoyed by his creditable top five finish in Cheshire last week, the former World Number One is excited to be heading back to play on home soil.

“It’s always good to play in Wales, and obviously the Wales Senior Open is a tournament I’d love to win,” said the 1991 Masters Tournament Champion. “Royal Porthcawl is a classic links course and I’ve always enjoyed the challenges of links golf, so hopefully it brings out the best in me again.

“I didn’t play as well as I can for the first three days last week but I still scored pretty well, then on the last day everything came together nicely and I put a great score together. So if I can carry on in that same vein, I’d be confident of having a decent week.

“A lot depends on the conditions really, because when the wind whips in off the sea at Porthcawl, it can be a very tricky test. But if we have weather like we had at Mottram Hall last week, there are definitely birdies to be had at Porthcawl.”

The Welshman, who has won four times on the European Senior Tour, will be joined in Bridgend by Lane, who held off competition from fellow Englishman Phillip Golding to win by a stroke at Conwy Golf Club, Caernarvonshire a year ago.

The win contributed to Lane finishing runner-up on the Senior Tour Order of Merit for the second consecutive year, and the Englishman is relishing the prospect of heading to Porthcawl to defend his title and gain some valuable experience on a course that will host The Senior Open Championship in 2014.

“Porthcawl is just one of the great links courses in the world,” said Lane. “It will be a privilege to defend the Speedy Services Wales Senior Open there, and it will also be great to get a really good look at the course before The Senior Open next year.”

The 52 year old Englishman will hope to reproduce his sparkling play en route to taking the title 12 months ago, when a picture perfect four iron to the penultimate hole proved the crucial blow in securing victory.

He said: “Every time you win a tournament it is special, but to win in that manner, having to hit that four iron when the pressure was really on and managing to pull it off, was extremely satisfying.

“That is what we are still playing for. We are all still very competitive on the Senior Tour, and when those moments come around in tournaments you realise how much you still want to win.

“Hopefully we can have a similar finish to the tournament this year, and it would be great if I could play my way into contention again.”

Paul Wesselingh, meanwhile, will be hoping to make it two wins on the trot after he successfully defending his ISPS HANDA PGA Seniors Championship title at De Vere Mattram Hall last week with a stunning four-shot victory over Paraguay’s Angel Franco.

Other notable names in the field include Senior Tour debutant Jamie Spence, who won two European Tour titles – at the Moroccan Open and the European Masters – before succeeding Mark James as Chairman of The European Tour’s Tournament Committee; and Paul Mayo, the former Amateur Champion who called time on his 16-year spell as the club professional at Newport Golf Club last November to chase his dream of competing on the Senior Tour.