Friday, 19 March 2010
Tommy Horton, Europe's top senior over the past three years, needs victory in the Bad Ragaz Seniors Open this weekend to virtually close the gap between himself and Senior British Open champion Christy O'Connor Jnr at the top of the current European Senior Tour Order of Merit.

Horton, holder of 21 senior titles, has not won since picking up the opening Beko Classic in Turkey back in May. And, despite going close over the past two years, the Swiss tournament has eluded him.

Last year he demonstrated his precision iron-play over picturesque Rhine Valley layout with a last round 64 but was still two short of South African winner Bobby Verwey, a former Senior British Open champion who scored a ten under par 200.

Horton finished joint second with former Ryder Cup colleague Maurice Bembridge who works as a teaching pro at nearby Ostchweizerisher and, with plenty of local support, will also be looking to go one better this time.

Verwey, handicapped by a pulled muscle in his left side, is not optimistic about a successful defence. And with O'Connor taking a holiday this week before returning to the United States Senior tour, Horton will fancy his chances of making yet another winning speech. The £16,750 top prize would take him to £72,377, just £740 adrift of O'Connor.

At least Horton will be able to keep a close eye on American senior tookie Alan Tapie, winner of the Elf Seniors Open France last month, who is currently ranked third. They are paired together in the opening round starting tomorrow (Fri).

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