More than 350 hopefuls are today battling it out over three Southport courses for one of 40 spots in this week’s Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex.
While the main event will begin at Royal Birkdale Golf Club on Thursday, qualifiers consisting of amateurs, local professionals, international winners and Ryder Cup stars are currently out on the links of Hillside, Formby and Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club seeking a place in the 156-strong field with the likes of defending champion Fred Couples and star names Colin Montgomerie and Tom Watson.
Hillside, which hosted the 1982 PGA Championship that saw Tony Jacklin beat Bernhard Langer in a play-off, features the likes of Ryder Cup star Manuel Pinero in a high-quality three-ball with European Tour winner Stephen Bennett and Senior Tour champion Katsuyoshi Tomori.
Also at the Southport links are European Tour winner Andrew Murray, whose son Tom plays on the Challenge Tour, a three-ball of Senior Tour winners in Massy Kuramoto, George Ryall and Denis O’Sullivan, and US PGA Tour star Zach Johnson’s caddie, Damon Green.
At Formby, meanwhile, 2000 Senior Tour Number One and eight-time winner Noel Ratcliffe tees up in a field which also features European Tour winners Mark Belsham, Jeff Hall and Stephen McAllister, while former US PGA Tour winner Danny Edwards is also out looking to secure a place at Birkdale in the 27th edition of the Senior Open.
Finally, at Southport and Ainsdale, Ray Stewart, who won the Alfred Dunhill Cup with his native Canadian team in 1994, is joined by Senior Tour winner Nick Job and 1990 US Open runner-up Mike Donald.
Full results, scores and reports will be published later on Monday.