Monday, 17 March 2003
Ireland's Christy O'Connor Jnr will be one of the star attractions as the 2003 European Seniors Tour season gets underway this week with the inaugural Digicel Jamaica Classic in association with Sony Ericsson at Half Moon, Montego Bay.

The Irishman will tee up with eight of his former Ryder Cup colleagues plus 11 winners on last year's Seniors Tour.

The latter category includes Jamaica's Delroy Cambridge who won three times during 2002 and is making his first competitive appearance in his homeland since joining the Seniors Tour at the end of 2000.

O'Connor Jnr did not win on the 2002 Seniors Tour but he will be hoping to rectify that omission with the sort of performance that has seen him win four titles on The European Tour, capture the Senior British Open twice and claim two victories on the Champions Tour in the United States.

O'Connor Jnr is one of nine former Ryder Cup golfers in the field but on this occasion his main rival might well be Cambridge who was born on this idyllic Caribbean island but who emigrated to America not long after turning professional in 1961.

Cambridge's three victories helped him finish third on the 2002 Seniors Tour Order of Merit and he has now won four times in all since making his debut at the start of 2001.

The Jamaican won for the first time when he captured the Dan Technology Seniors Tournament of Champions at the end of 2001. Last year, he enhanced his reputation as one of the Seniors Tour's most impressive performers with further victories at the Microlease Jersey Seniors Masters, the Bovis Lend Lease European Seniors Masters and the Daily Telegraph / Sodexho Seniors Match Play Championship. He has now won €362,038 (£227,323) since winning his Seniors Tour card at the 2001 Qualifying School.
Cambridge is one of 11 2002 winners to tee up in the inaugural Jamaican event and the steadiest of those is undoubtedly England's Denis Durnian who has finished second in the Order of Merit in each of the last two seasons.

Durnian missed out on victory during his career on The European Tour but he has more than made up for that since turning 50 in 2000. He captured his first Seniors Tour title when he claimed the €139,555 (£83,330) first prize at the 2001 Wales Seniors Open and last season continued to impress with further victories at the Charles Church Scottish Seniors Open and the Estoril Seniors Tour Championship. That brace of wins helped him to earn a place in the UBS Cup for the second successive season and once there he showed he is capable of competing in the highest circles by halving his singles match against Tom Watson.

Cambridge and Durnian are the only 2002 repeat winners in the Jamaican field but they will be joined by Ray Carrasco (Travis Perkins Senior Masters), Terry Gale (GIN Monte Carlo Invitational), Bernard Gallacher (The Mobile Cup), Brian Jones (De Vere Hotels Seniors Classic), Denis O'Sullivan (Tunisian Seniors Open), Steve Stull (Tobago Plantations Seniors Classic), Dragon Taki (Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open), Peter Townsend (Royal Westmoreland Barbados Open) and Gary Wintz (Flanders Nippon presents Legends in Golf) all of whom won last term.

There will also be a number of new faces in the field for the inaugural Digicel Jamaica Classic in association with Sony Ericsson. Last year, former Spanish Ryder Cup star, Manuel Piñero, turned 50 in time to finish third at the GIN Monte Carlo Invitational and he starts his 2003 campaign in Jamaica alongside other newcomers such as England's Bob Cameron, Argentina's Horatio Carbonetti and Italy's Baldovino Dassu.

Cameron makes his debut on the Seniors Tour less than a month after representing Great Britain and Ireland's club professionals for a fifth time against the Americans in the 21st PGA Club match at the PGA Golf Club in Florida. The club professional at Sundridge Park in Kent secured a fine 3 and 2 win over Bruce Zabriski in the singles.

Carbonetti, 56, makes his debut after winning the 2002 European Seniors Tour Qualifying School over the Pinta course at the Pestana Golf Resort in Portugal. On that occasion the Argentine golfer showed just how formidable a competitor he could be by producing rounds of 69-69-72-66 to finish three shots ahead of South Africa's Robbie Stewart. He will now be hoping to emulate America's Steve Stull who won the 2001 Qualifying School by a record ten shots before going on to win on his second appearance on the Seniors Tour at last year's Tobago Plantations Seniors Classic.

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