Scotland's Bill Longmuir will be endeavouring to make up ground on England's Carl Mason at the top of the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit when he tees up in the Bad Ragaz Seniors Open at Bad Ragaz, Switzerland, this week.
The Scot travels to Switzerland trailing Mason at the top of on the Order of Merit but has an ideal opportunity to reduce the deficit with Mason opting to miss the Bad Ragaz event in order to prepare for next week's Travis Perkins Senior Masters at the Wentworth Club.
Longmuir has been in fine form since turning 50 in time for this year's Irvine Whitlock Jersey Seniors Masters at La Moye. He finished tied eighth on his debut but then hit the jackpot when he won the €108,201 first prize at the lucrative Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open at Royal St David's in Harlech. He also claimed a top 20 finish at the Senior British Open, presented by MasterCard, at the Westin Turnberry Resort.
The Scottish golfer will start as favourite in Switzerland but he will face plenty of competition from a strong field that includes defending champion, Dragon Taki, plus two other former winners.
Taki, a 52 year old former J.P.G.A. long driving champion, became the sixth first-time winner on last season's Seniors Tour when he overcame Ireland's Denis O'Sullivan in a three hole play-off at last year's rain-shortened event.
In the second round, Taki carded a seven under par 63 to tie O'Sullivan on ten under par 130 and that turned out to be good enough to secure a place in the play-off after torrential rain washed out the final round. The following morning, the two leaders returned with Taki coasting to victory, scoring 4-3-4 against O'Sullivan's 5-4-5.
This is the seventh successive year that a Seniors Tour event has been staged over the picturesque Bad Ragaz course. Brian Waites won the inaugural title in 1997 and he was succeeded, first by South Africa's Bobby Verwey in 1998 and then by Australia's Bob Shearer in 1999. Scotland's David Huish recorded successive victories in 2000 and 2001 before Taki emerged victorious 12 months ago.
Huish and Verwey both return this year where they will be joined by Jerry Bruner, Ray Carrasco, Terry Gale, Longmuir, Noel Ratcliffe and Hank Woodrome who have all won on this season's Seniors Tour. Also present are the consistent Bob Cameron and John Chillas, who between them have claimed nine top ten finishes on this season's circuit. Chillas leads the way with five appearances in the top ten, his best performances coming when he finished second at both the Tobago Plantations Seniors Classic and the De Vere Hotels Northumberland Seniors Classic.
Cameron, the former club professional at Sundridge Park, Kent, also arrives in Switzerland with two second-place finishes under his belt. The first came at the Irvine Whitlock Jersey Seniors Masters where he finished three shots behind England's Malcolm Gregson. Three weeks later he came even closer, finishing just one shot behind Mason at The Mobile Cup at Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire.