Gordon J Brand returns to Woburn Golf Club to defend his Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters title this week hoping to recapture the form that saw him win back-to-back tournaments 12 months ago.
After recording his best European Senior Tour season to date last year, finishing second behind Ian Woosnam in the Order of Merit, the Englishman admits he has yet to scale the heights of his 2008 campaign so far this term.
The 54 year old former Ryder Cup player is currently 23rd on the money list, with his best finish so far this season being tied sixth in the Irish Seniors Open in association with Fáilte Ireland and AIB Bank.
He is hoping that memories of his two stroke victory over Spaniard Juan Quiros over the Duke’s Course last year can inspire him once again, although he concedes he entered the 2008 tournament in different circumstances having won The De Vere Collection PGA Seniors Championship the previous week.
“My confidence was high last year after winning the week before but at the moment it is not,” he said. “I’m not winning or finishing in the top ten but on the Senior Tour you have to think it can all fall together quite quickly.
“While I don’t have the confidence from winning so far this year I do have it from having won there before. I always say it is good to win on a good course and Woburn is a good course.
“You always have that in the back of your mind when you go out there that you can win on the course.
“It was very tight last year up until the last hole, anyone could have won it. At Woburn anyone can win because it is a very tight course. You can’t lay up to play safe – you have to go for it. I made a three at the last to win by two in the end so it all worked out well.
“When I’m playing well the course suits my eye as I can drive very straight but my driving has been inconsistent this year, which is why I’ve not been doing particularly well. I just have to put up with it and wait for the form to come back. Hopefully that will happen at Woburn.”
Brand is likely to face some strong competition for the title from former Ryder Cup Captains Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam, who are currently fighting it out at the top of the Order of Merit.
Both finished inside the top 20 last year but will be hoping to improve on those performances and claim a substantial share of the £250,000 prize fund to boost their chances of winning the John Jacobs Trophy which Woosnam lifted last year, as leading Senior Tour player, and Torrance in 2005 and 2006.
Also in the field will be Englishman Glenn Ralph, who broke his duck after 36 years as a professional by winning the Cleveland Golf/Srixon Scottish Senior Open in the last Senior Tour event.
Two former champions, Luis Carbonetti (2004) and Carl Mason (2006 and 2007) return to Woburn in fine form having finished tied second and tied fifth respectively at Fairmont St Andrews.
Mason is the only player to have won the title twice and came close to a hat-trick last year when he finished third behind Brand.
Jamaican Delroy Cambridge, the 2002 champion, is also in the field having won his fifth Senior Tour title earlier this season in the Jersey Seniors Classic, while Australian Peter Senior tees it up in his second Senior Tour event having made a fine finish in Scotland where he finished fourth.