The European Seniors Tour returns to the picturesque Bad Ragaz course near Zurich in Switzerland this week with Bobby Verwey defending the title.
The South African won back to back titles last year when he assembled a neat winning total of 200, ten under par to win by two from Maurice Bembridge and Tommy Horton.
The three protagonists from last year are back once again in search of the 23,450 euro (£16,750) winners cheque. Verwey, a winner of five events on the European Seniors Tour, including the 1991 Senior British Open, will be hoping the Swiss air will inspire him as it did 12 months ago as he searches for his first victory of the season.
Former Ryder Cup player Maurice Bembridge, resident professional of nearby Ostchweizerscherge, will effectively be playing in front of a home crowd and can expect plenty of support in his bid to win for the first time this season.
With Senior British Open champion Christy O’Connor Jnr taking a week’s holiday before returning to the US Senior Tour, Tommy Horton has the chance to close the gap at the top of the Seniors Tour Order of Merit, although even victory will still not be quite enough to regain the top spot. Horton has won the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit for the past three years but has not won since the season’s curtain raiser in Turkey. Last year at Bad Ragaz he finished with on eof his characteristic late charges with a round of 64 but it was not quite enough to catch Verwey.
Alan Tapie, who won the Elf Seniors Open at Golf de Chantaco to move to the top of the Order of Merit for a couple of weeks, is also in the field and has the chance to overhaul Horton in second place.
Former winner Brian Waites is in the field along with the in-form David Huish, second last week. Former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher is among those playing in his first Bad Ragaz Seniors Open.