Monday, 21 August 2006

Sam Torrance will make another notable entry on his impressive golfing CV if he can retain the 50th PGA Seniors Championship at The Stoke By Nayland Golf Club. Victory in Suffolk on Bank Holiday Monday would see the former Ryder Cup Captain join an illustrious list of multiple winners of the European Seniors Tour’s longest running tournament.


Since its inception in 1957, the PGA Seniors Championship has attracted some of the finest names to have ever graced the fairways and the list of past winners reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of golf. Now, in keeping with those eligible to play in the event, the championship has reached its 50th birthday.


Nowhere is this more in evidence than in the select band to have won the championship on more than one occasion; Neil Coles, Max Faulkner, Tommy Horton, Kel Nagle and Christy O’Connor comprising the gilded group that Torrance is hoping to join.


Victory in the Golden Anniversary edition of this wonderful event would represent his 39th victory as a career professional. It would also catapult him back to the top of the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit, a position he relinquished to Eduardo Romero after the Argentine’s victory in the Wentworth Senior Masters.


Another man chasing a PGA Championship double, albeit of a different nature, is Tony Johnstone of Zimbabwe. The renowned short game expert captured the PGA Championship on The European Tour in 1992 and form suggests he could go close in his bid to join Coles as a winner of both versions of the championship.


Other leading contenders for the lion’s share of this year’s £200,000 prize fund include David J Russell, runner-up in 2005, Nick Job, tied third in 2005, and past winners Carl Mason (2004), Bill Longmuir (2003), Seiji Ebihara (2002) and Terry Gale (1996).


Former Ryder Cup players Eamonn Darcy and José Rivero, who shared second spot in last week’s Scandinavian Senior Open, and Gordon J Brand, seventh in Denmark, are also in good form and their presence alongside Giuseppe Cali, Guillermo Encina and Juan Quiros – all winners in 2006 - will only add to what should be a fascinating four days of golf on the Gainsborough Course.


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