Eamonn Darcy and Manuel Pinero will both be hoping it is a case of second time lucky when they tee up against a strong international field at the Bovis Lend Lease European Senior Masters to be played over the Duke's course at Woburn G & CC on September 13 to 14.
The Irishman and his Spanish rival will both be making their second appearances on the European Seniors Tour at Woburn where they will come up against an impressive field that includes the likes of Neil Coles, Seiji Ebihara, Bernard Gallacher, Tony Jacklin and Christy O'Connor Jnr.
Pinero made his debut on the Seniors Tour at last week's GIN Monte Carlo Invitational whereas Darcy appeared for the first time at the Travis Perkins Senior Masters at Woburn a couple of weeks before
Darcy went into the Wentworth event with high hopes of victory but in the end they were dashed by circumstances outwith his control.
The Irishman started brightly with an opening 69 but was then incapacitated by a back problem that saw him drop all the way back into a share of 47th place after rounds of 73 and 79.
"It was a great shame because I had spent a lot of time looking forward to my first Seniors event," said the man who won four times and accumulated almost £2 million in over 30 years on the European Tour. "I felt fine during the first round but I did something while I was doing my exercises that night and it got worse and worse after that.
"To be honest I don't think I would have completed the event if it hadn't been my debut on the Seniors Tour. It was huge disappointment but one that I will be doing all I can to put behind me as son as I can."
The rejuvenated Darcy might well start as the bookmakers favourite at Woburn but he will face a strong challenge from the indomitable Seiji Ebihara who has been in irrepressible form for most of the 2002 season.
The Japanese golfer started the season in style when he captured the AIB Irish Seniors Open at Adare Manor and has since gone on to win the Wales Seniors Open and the De Vere PGA Seniors Open as well.
Ebihara's form in the latter of those events at the De Vere Carden Park was particularly impressive. There he routed the opposition with a record 21 under par aggregate of 267 that saw him finish no less than 10 shots ahead of America's Steve Stull. He dropped two shots while compiling his opening 69 but then went a staggering 57 holes without ever going over par again.
Last year's inaugural Bovis Lend Lease European Senior Masters was won by Australia's Bob Shearer who returns to defend his title.
Twelve months ago Shearer won his first European Seniors Tour title since 1999 when he closed with a five under par 67 to finish one shot ahead of compatriot Noel Ratcliffe and two in front of an international threesome comprising Ebihara, America's Jerry Bruner and New Zealand's Bob Charles.
The Australian started his final round with three birdies and finished it with two more but was still made to fight all the way by Ratcliffe who eagled the 514 yard 18th hole with a curling 25 foot putt but still came up one tantalising shot short.
"I don't think I will ever forget that afternoon," said Shearer. "You always remember you victories but this one was a bit special because it came a couple of years after my previous win.
"There were times when I started to wonder if I would ever win again so when my last putt dropped and Noel came up one shot short I was ecstatic.
"That night I went home to Australia to visit a couple of my course design projects and I think I smiled all the way."
European Seniors Tour Managing Director, Andy Stubbs, watched last season's exciting finish and looks forward to a similar conclusion this time round.
“On behalf of the European Seniors Tour, I would like to offer our appreciation to Bovis Lend Lease for their continued title sponsorship of the tournament and to Woburn Golf & Country Club for hosting the tournament once again on their magnificent Duke’s Course. With one of the strongest fields of the year, we are confident that it will be another exciting and interesting tournament.”
“This is our second year as title sponsor and the competition is better than ever”, said John Spanswick, Chief Executive of Bovis Lend Lease. We, the organisers and Woburn Golf & Country Club have all put a great deal of effort into making this an event to remember and that goes for the unique trophy as well. As sponsors, we wanted a trophy that truly reflects the calibre of the players and quality of golf we expect to see. We hope that it will serve as perpetual reminder of a wonderful tournament.”