Wednesday, 06 April 2011
 Ian Woosnam   (Getty Images)
Ian Woosnam (Getty Images)

While the attention of the golfing world is currently fixed upon Augusta National and the Masters Tournament, the European Senior Tour players are busy preparing for their own first Major Championship of the season.

A strong European contingent is expected to cross the Atlantic next month for the US Senior PGA Championship, which returns to Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky for the first time since 2004.

Among those hoping to capture the title will be Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam, both of whom are currently in America for the Masters Tournament, the traditional curtain raiser of golf’s Major Championships.

Lyle, the current Senior Tour Order of Merit leader, and Woosnam are both past champions at Augusta National but both are still awaiting a maiden Major on the over 50s circuit.

They will spearhead the Senior Tour challenge at Valhalla, the host venue of The 2008 Ryder Cup.

Last year at Colorado Golf Club in Denver, five Senior Tour Members finished inside the top 20, including South African David Frost who lost in a play-off to winner Tom Lehman, after also tying with Fred Couples.

Scotland’s Andrew Oldcorn, the 2001 PGA Champion, finished tied eighth on his debut in a Senior Major Championship, while Peter Senior (tied 11th), 2010 Order of Merit winner Boonchu Ruangkit (tied 18th) and Edoardo Romero (tied 18th) also impressed.

Bernhard Langer, who went on to win both The Senior Open Championship and the US Senior Open in 2010, had led after an opening round 66 but closed with three consecutive rounds of 75 to finish in a share of 23rd. The German is currently sidelined with a thumb injury sustained in a biking accident but is hopeful of returning in time for the Championship, having finished runner up in 2008.

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