Friday, 19 March 2010
Bernard Gallacher heads a strong Scottish contingent teeing up in the Charles Church Scottish Seniors Open to be played at the magnificent new Roxburghe club near Kelso on September 20 to 22.

The former Ryder Cup captain will be attempting to emulate David Huish as the second Scot to win his national Seniors Open title but he will have to be on his best form if he is to achieve that goal against an impressive field that also includes Neil Coles, Seiji Ebihara, Tony Jacklin and Victor Garcia.

Gallacher goes into the Charles Church Scottish Seniors Open as one of just two British golfers to have achieved a victory on this season's European Seniors Tour.

The man who won 13 European Tour titles and took part in eight Ryder Cups as a player and another three as Europe's captain collected his maiden Seniors Tour title when he won the recent Mobile Cup at the Stoke Park Club near London.

The Scot was in sparkling form on his way to winning the 30,474 euro (£19,500) first prize. He produced rounds of 67, 68 and 66 to finish four shots ahead of Jamaica's Delroy Cambridge on twelve under par 201 and in the process ended his doubts about his ability to win on the Seniors Tour.

"I feel as if a massive weight has just been lifted off my shoulders," said the Scot after collecting the trophy. "I've been desperate to win since I joined the Seniors Tour in 1999 but I just couldn't quite seem to be able to do it.

"I have to admit there were times when I got very despondent," he added. "There were moments when I would sit around and wonder if I would ever win so you can imagine how great this feels now.

"I am particularly pleased because I played so well while winning," he added. "It's great to win and even better that I was able to score a 66 while doing it."

Gallacher tees up at The Roxburghe as part of a strong Scottish contingent that also includes John Chillas, Russell Weir, Mike Miller, John McTear and 1998 champion David Huish.

The former Wentworth professional has struggled to find his best form since winning at the Stoke Park Club but the same cannot be said for Chillas who is enjoying a hugely successful rookie season on the Seniors Tour.

The club professional at Glenbervie has still to win on the Seniors Tour but he goes into the Charles Church Scottish Seniors Open in sixth place on the Order of Merit after accumulating no less that five top ten finishes in his first nine starts this season.

The former Scottish PGA champion started his 2002 with a fine second place finish behind America's Steve Stull at the Tobago Plantations Seniors Classic and he has since also finished fourth at the Senior British Open, presented by MasterCard, tied fourth at the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open, tied fifth at the De Vere PGA Seniors Championship and tied eighth at the Flanders Nippon presents Legends in Golf.

Chillas could well be the dark horse in the Charles Church Scottish Seniors Open field but the favourite will undoubtedly be Japan's Seiji Ebihara who has been almost unbeatable at times during a successful 2002 season in which he has built an insurmountable lead at the top of the Seniors Tour Order of Merit.

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.

This year's Charles Church Scottish Seniors Open is the tenth to be played stretching back to 1993 with former winners including Tommy Horton, Antonio Garrido, Brian Huggett, John Morgan, David Huish, Neil Coles, Noel Ratcliffe and David Oakley.

Twelve months ago Oakley won his second title in the space of three weeks when he defeated England's Keith MacDonald on the second extra hole of a sudden-death play-off.

Earlier both men had finished on six under par 210, a single shot ahead of Ebihara and Scotland's Russell Weir.

Two weeks later, Weir, the club professional at Cowal, went on to claim his first Seniors Tour title at the TEMES Seniors Open in Greece.

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