Twenty years after hosting the World Cup of Golf, Greece once again takes its place on the tournament rota as the host of the penultimate event on the European Seniors Tour this week, the Greek Seniors Open.
Tommy Horton, the current Number One in the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit, heads the star cast as he bids to win the John Jacobs Award as the leading money winner for a record fourth successive year. Jerry Bruner, a graduate from last year’s Qualifying School, leads the challengers hoping to overtake Horton.
Bruner has finished runner-up on four occasions and in the top ten a further six times this season but victory has so far eluded him. A win this week will close the gap on Horton in the race to finish number one.
Among the season’s champions in the field are Warrington’s Mike Slater, winner of his maiden Seniors Tour title a fortnight ago in the Netherlands, and Australian Ross Metherell, winner of two events in the space of three weeks in August. Former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher is also in the field searching for his first title since turning 50 in February.
Competition for places in the season ending Praia D’el Rey Rover European Cup against the Ladies European Tour continues to be closely fought with the top eight in the Order of Merit gaining automatic qualification, the remaining two places being the captain’s pick. Eddie Polland, who currently has the last automatic place in the team, is 1,277 euro (£912 approx) ahead of David Jones vying for the right to qualify.
The tournament is being held at Glyfada Golf Club near Athens with a total prize fund of 175,000 euro (£125,000).
Glyfada Golf Club was the venue for the 1979 World Cup of Golf, won by the United States team of John Mahaffey and Hale Irwin, currently the most prolific collector of titles on the US Senior Tour.
Runners-up that year were Scotland with the team of Sandy Lyle, former Open and Masters Champion, and Ken Brown, one of Mark James’s assistants in the 33rd Ryder Cup Matches at The Country Club, Brookline and a leading commentator for Sky TV. Among the other players who competed at Glyfada in 1979 was Senior British Open Champion Brian Huggett, who partnered fellow Welshman David Vaughan, now also a Seniors Tour player.
Eddie Polland, beaten twice in as many weeks by Huggett in sudden-death play-offs for the Schroder Senior Masters and Senior British Open last season, is another of the current crop of Seniors Tour players returning to Glyfada along with Spain’s Antonio Garrido.
The course, located about 12km south of Athens, was designed by Donald Harradine and opened in 1962. It was later remodelled by Robert Trent Jones Snr in 1979.