The 35th Ryder Cup Matches begin next week and the European Seniors Tour warms up for that Match Play extravaganza this week when it stages The Daily Telegraph Turismo Andaluz European Seniors Match Play Championship.
The £100,000 event tees off on Wednesday at Flamingos Golf Club near Malaga, Spain, and features 32 of the Seniors Tour leading players all of whom will be chasing a place in the 18 hole final which will be played on Saturday.
Defending champion Carl Mason from England will once again be the man to beat. The in form 51 year old has tasted victory on three occasions in 2004.
He defeated Ireland’s Denis O’Sullivan by one hole in a nail biting final last season. O’Sullivan had birdied the 16th and 17th to draw level with the Englishman before drama unfolded on the last when Mason made a brilliant up and down from a bunker while his Irish opponent three putted.
“Match Play is always fun and provides us with a refreshing break from stroke play golf. I had a great week last year at Flamingos and hopefully I can keep my winning run going,” said Mason.
The Englishman is currently chasing his second successive Seniors Tour Order of Merit title. He is in second place on the Merit list having won the season opening Tobago Plantations Seniors Classic, the AIB Irish Seniors Open, and the De Vere PGA Seniors Open.
A strong line-up of winners from this year will face off against each other at Flamingos including Scotland’s Bill Longmuir, Seiji Ebihara from Japan, American Ray Carrasco, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti, South African Gavan Levenson, and Englishmen Jim Rhodes and Bob Cameron.
The European Seniors Match Play Championship was inaugurated in 2000 when victory went to Brazilian Priscillo Diniz. Rhodes claimed the title the following year before being succeeded by Jamaican Delroy Cambridge in 2002, when the event was played for the first time at Flamingos.
The Daily Telegraph Turismo Andaluz European Seniors Match Play Championship is the 18th leg of this year’s Seniors Tour, which features 21 tournaments.