Ian Woosnam will launch his defence of the John Jacobs Trophy when he headlines one of the strongest fields in the history of the DGM Barbados Open, which celebrates its tenth anniversary.
The Welshman, who turned 51 at the start of March, begins his season at Royal Westmoreland in the tournament where he made his European Senior Tour debut 12 months ago, finishing fifth behind winner Bill Longmuir of Scotland.
Woosnam went on to win twice in the 2008 campaign, picking up the Rookie of the Year award and becoming the first former Harry Vardon Trophy winner to capture the John Jacobs Trophy, presented to the leading Senior Tour player.
The former World Number One, who owns a home on the Caribbean island, is now looking for a successful start to the 2009 campaign, in which he aims to win back-to-back Order of Merit crowns for the first time in his illustrious career.
He is joined in the field by fellow former Ryder Cup winning Captain Sam Torrance of Scotland, who finished tied sixth in the season opening Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters presented by The Stapleford Forum at the start of the month.
That performance provided further evidence, following on from his victory in the 2008 season ending OKI Castellón Open España – Senior Tour Championship, that the two time Senior Tour Order of Merit winner is back to his best following two seasons plagued by a hand injury.
Also hoping to be in contention is Irishman Des Smyth, one of Woosnam’s Vice Captains at The 2006 Ryder Cup, who returns to action having opted to commit to the Senior Tour full time in 2009 after splitting his schedule with the Champions Tour for the past six seasons.
England’s Gordon J Brand, runner up to Woosnam in the 2008 Senior Tour Order of Merit, made a slow start to the new campaign, finishing tied 29th in Brunei, but he will be hoping to reproduce the form that saw him win the title at Royal Westmoreland in 2007.
Meanwhile American Mike Cunning, winner on his debut in Brunei, will attempt to become the quickest player to win twice on the Senior Tour and break Brian Barnes’s record of capturing two titles in his first four appearances.
At The Empire Country Club & Hotel, Cunning finished two strokes clear of runner up Northern Ireland’s Jimmy Heggarty, who will be looking to build on his own best Senior Tour performance by going one better in Barbados.
England’s Bob Cameron, who led after the first round in Brunei before finishing tied third, is also in the field, having finished runner up behind Longmuir in the 2008 DGM Barbados Open.
Longmuir himself returns to Royal Westmoreland to defend the title which he won by three strokes 12 months ago.
The Scot fired a stunning birdie blitz on the back nine of his final round – including five in a row from the 13th hole – to capture his seventh Senior Tour title.