Former Masters Champion Ian Woosnam heads a field of former stars of The European Tour as they hope to follow in the footsteps of Phil Mickelson and claim glory on Scottish soil.Mickelson proved his love for the ‘Home of Golf’ runs deep as he claimed back-to-back titles there, first at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open before his dramatic triumph at The Open Championship at Muirfield last week.
It has been a story of American dominance at the Scottish tournaments this year, which began with a breakthrough victory for promising young star Brooks Koepka at the Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts, a victory which sealed automatic promotion to The European Tour.A strong field of Europeans will be hoping to buck that trend on the Torrance Championship Course at Fairmont St Andrews, in Fife, including Anders Forsbrand, who returns to defend the title he claimed in 2012, when he became the first Swede to win on the Senior Tour.
Woosnam, meanwhile, will be hoping to add his name to the star-studded list of past winners at the SSE Scottish Senior Open, having come so close to a fifth Senior Tour win twice already this season – finishing tied third at both the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship and the Speedy Services Wales Senior Open.The Welshman is joined by two fellow former Ryder Cup Captains in Mark James, who commentated for the BBC at The Open Championship, and local hero Sam Torrance.
Torrance, of course, designed the course which hosts this year’s event, and the Scot will be hoping his inside knowledge on the track will lead him to a 12th Senior Tour title.Another man who knows the course inside out is a two-time winner of the event, Barry Lane, who is searching for a first win of the year having won in every season since joining the Senior Tour in 2010.
Lane is one of numerous former European Tour players in the field, including Scotland’s own Gordon Brand Junior and Ross Drummond, Australian Peter Fowler, Zimbabwean Tony Johnstone and Irishman Des Smyth, while six-time Walker Cup player Gary Wolstenholme will also compete.
The SSE Scottish Senior Open is one title which record-breaking Senior Tour winner Carl Mason has never claimed, and he will be hoping to put that right when he arrives on Scottish shores in search of a 26th win.The Americans hoping to continue their nation’s purple patch on Scottish soil include three-time Senior Tour champion Tim Thelen, and two-time winner Mike Cunning.