The European Seniors Tour reaches another exciting climax this week with the Senior Tournament of Champions at Buckinghamshire Golf Club.
Tommy Horton, winner of the European Seniors Tour Money List for the past three years and the current No.1, will be chasing a fourth consecutive John Jacobs Trophy.
At the same time, the 58 year old from Jersey is aiming to capture his third Senior Tournament of Champions title at Buckinghamshire GC and his 22nd in total since he joined the European Seniors Tour in 1992.
Horton won the title in 1996 and 1997 while last year it was John Garner who emerged victorious after a dramatic finish to the rain-curtailed tournament.
Going into the final event of 1999, Horton stands well clear of his nearest rivals with 124,383 euro (£88,845). Victory at Buckinghamshire GC – a favourite venue for the Seniors Tour – would ensure that Horton passes the 140,000 euro (£100,000) mark for the fourth year in a row. Since 1992, the former Royal Jersey professional has amassed in excess of 980,000 euro (£700,000) in official prize money.
American Jerry Bruner can still catch Horton after earning 100,308 euro (£71,648) from 16 tournaments in his rookie season on the European Seniors Tour. Neil Coles, twice a winner this season and as competitive as ever at 65, is aiming to add the Senior Tournament of Champions title to his tally.
Among the “younger generation” are American Alan Tapie, who ran Horton close in the season opening Beko Classic in Turkey in May, and Wentworth Club’s captain in 2000, Bernard Gallacher. Tapie lies fifth in the Money List while Gallacher, third in the Greek Seniors Open last week, is 15th.
Competition will also be fierce among players aiming for a place in the ten-man team for the Praia D’el Rey Rover European Cup, the annual Ryder Cup-style match against the Ladies European Tour. The Senior Tournament of Champions is the last qualifying tournament for players to earn a place in the team, comprising the top eight on the Money List plus captain’s invitations.
The leading 36 players on the Money List are eligible to play at Buckinghamshire Golf Club with a first prize of 28,000 euro (£20,000) awaiting the winner.
The course, designed by John Jacobs, is set in 226 acres of magnificent English parkland, bounded to the east by the River Colne and to the west lies the historic village of Denham. The site contains 5,000 mature trees and a further 20,000 indigenous trees and shrubs, including oak, beech and maple, were planted during the construction stage.
Jacobs, the Founding Father of the European Tour, will again be present at Buckinghamshire GC to present the trophy named in his honour to the winner of the European Seniors Tour Money List.
Main co-sponsors of the tournament are Allied Irish Bank (GB), who sponsored the AIB Irish Seniors Open at Mount Juliet in May, and Asahi, the Japanese conglomerate which owns Buckinghamshire Golf Club.
Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Seniors Tour said: “It is always a pleasure to return to Buckinghamshire Golf Club, which has been a wonderful setting for the climax to our season since 1996.
“We are extremely grateful to our co-sponsors, Allied Irish Bank (GB) and Asahi for their continued support. This tournament is the grand finale to another outstanding year on the European Seniors Tour and I am certain a worthy winner will emerge on Sunday.”