Scotland's David Huish returns to the scene of one of his finest triumphs when he tees up at this week's Lawrence Batley Seniors tournament at Huddersfield Golf Club.
The Scot, who defeated England's Neil Coles and South Africa's John Fourie on the first hole of a sudden-death play-off at last year's tournament, heads a strong field that also includes the in-form Denis Durnian, who lives over the Penines in Manchester.
Last year's Lawrence Batley tournament, the ninth since it became a Seniors Tour event in 1992, was one of the most exciting events on last season's circuit. Huish, the Professional and Course Manager at North Berwick,
battled his way into the play-off after rounds of 71, 72 and 69 and then calmly rolled in a 6-foot putt for a par-3 on the first extra hole to record his third European Seniors Tour victory. Later in the season he also went on to win
the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open on his way to finishing seventh on the 2000 Order of Merit with £73,814.
Huish, fresh from a strong fourth place finish at the Microlease Jersey Seniors Masters, will start out as one of the favourites but his biggest challenge may come from current Order of Merit leader, Denis Durnian, who won the record £83,300 first prize at the recent Wales Seniors Open at Royal St David's and then followed that up with a strong second place finish in Jersey where he
and Jamaica's Delroy Cambridge lost in a play-off to Japan's Seiji Ebihara.
Ebihara, who also won the AIB Irish Seniors Open at Powerscourt, and currently lies second on the Seniors Tour Order of Merit behind Durnian, is another welcome visitor to Huddersfield, where he will be joined by seven former winners, Huish (2000), Eddie Polland (1999), Bobby Verwey (1992 and 1998), Antonio Garrido (1997), Malcolm Gregson (1996), Alberto Croce (1995), John
Morgan (1994). Also teeing up are Brazil's Priscillo Diniz, winner of this season's Royal Westmoreland Barbados Open, and Australia's Ian Stanley, the victor at last month's De Vere PGA Seniors Championship at Carden Park.
This year's Lawrence Batley Seniors, which has a prize purse of £120,000, up £10,000 from 2000, is particularly special because it is the first since its host and title sponsor, Lawrence Batley OBE, turned 90 in February.
Batley, who was once described by Lee Trevino as "the biggest golf nut in the world", is one of the game of golf's great benefactors, having sponsored the Lawrence Batley International on the European Tour between 1981 and 1987 before switching to the European Seniors Tour at its outset in 1992. At the same time, he has also been a strong supporter of numerous amateur golf events in his area.
"Lawrence has always been a larger than life character and an ardent supporter of Seniors golf since the inception of the European Seniors Tour," said Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the Ruropean Seniors Tour. "This tenth anniversary of the Lawrence Batley Seniors is a special occasion, and more so since our
host has recently celebrated his 90th birthday.
"There is always a pleasant ambience about the tournament, which is enjoyed by players, guests, amateurs and sponsors alike. We would like to take this
opportunity to wish Lawrence a belated happy birthday and look forward to an exciting tenth anniversary edition of the Lawrence Batley Seniors."