European Seniors Tour Order of Merit leader Eduardo Romero will be looking to extend his remarkable run in Senior Major Championships when he tees up for the first round of the US Senior Open at Whistling Straits on Thursday.
The Argentine has not finished outside the top two places in his last three Senior Major appearances, with victory in the JELD-WEN Tradition on the 2006 US Champions Tour proving the highlight between runner-up spots in The 2006 Senior Open Championship and the 2007 US Senior PGA Championship.
In order to continue that stunning sequence, Romero must overcome the myriad challenges posed by Pete Dye’s Whistling Straits layout, venue for the 2004 US PGA Championship and which at 7,068 yards will test the shorter-hitters, as well as a hugely talented field of 156 of the world’s best over-50 players.
Included among them are fellow European Seniors Tour Members Mark James of England, Des Smyth of Ireland and Sam Torrance of Scotland, the two-time European Number One (2005 and 2006) and a winner two weeks ago in the Bendinat London Seniors Masters.
James holds the honour of being the last European to win a Senior Major Championship thanks to his success three years ago in the Ford Seniors Players’ Championship – one of the former European Senior Masters winner’s three US Champions Tour titles – while Smyth came agonisingly close to beating that record when he was beaten in a play-off by Tom Watson in The 2005 Senior Open Championship, presented by Aberdeen Asset Management, at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club.
Romero suffered an identical fate to Smyth when Loren Roberts pipped him in extra holes when the same Championship was held at The Westin Turnberry Resort almost 12 months ago, but out of adversity was forged an even stronger competitor.
The following week ‘El Gato’, as he is known, successfully defended the Wentworth Senior Masters at Wentworth Club, closing in two under par 70 to finish two clear of Torrance and Horacio Carbonetti, and a fortnight later found himself in another play-off but this time emerged triumphant, beating American Lonnie Nielsen in the JELD-WEN Tradition.
The eight-time European Tour winner looked to be heading to another Senior Major Championship success having led after each of the first three rounds of the 2007 US Senior PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, before a double-bogey at the 14th on the final day saw Denis Watson of Zimbabwe come through to claim a two-stroke win.
The 2007 US Senior Open Championship, which carries a prize fund of US$2,600,000, begins on Thursday with Allen Doyle of the United States the defending champion.