Roger Chapman will be looking to join a select band of golfing greats as he attempts to win back-to-back Senior Major titles at the US Senior Open Championship, being held this week at the Indianwood Golf and Country Club in Michigan.
Chapman, who became the first European to win the US Senior PGA since Jock Hutchison in 1947 when claimed a two shot victory over American John Cook at Harbor Shores in May, will be eyeing a place in the history books alongside American legends Hale Irwin and Jack Nicklaus and South Africa’s Gary Player as the only players to have won both the US Senior Open and Senior PGA in the same season.
Irwin, 67, is the most recent to have achieved the impressive feat 14 years ago and the three-times US Open Champion was just three shots shy of Chapman in the first Senior Major of the year as the Englishman completed a thrilling wire-to-wire victory two months ago in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
It was undoubtedly the crowning glory of Chapman’s career, having only won once previously on The European Tour at the Brazil 500 Years Rio de Janiero Open in 2000, and the Ascot man was thrilled to see his name alongside the leading lights of the game.
“It's incredible,” he said. “You have got Hale Irwin, Jack Nicklaus, and Tom Watson and Fuzzy Zoeller, Jay Haas. And it's incredible just to have my name under Tom Watson's name, the defending champion. It's the best feeling in the world. This is what we strive for, this is what we practice and work hard for.”
First staged in 1980, when Argentina’s Roberto Di Vicenzo took the spoils, the 2012 US Senior Open is being contested across Indianwood’s 6,826-yard par 70 Old Course, which was opened in 1925 and designed by Wilfred Reid, who also designed the Olympic Club’s Lake Course in San Francisco – host venue for last month’s US Open which was won by American Webb Simpson.
Germany’s Bernhard Langer was the last man to win two Senior Major Championships in the same season, when he captured both the US Senior Open and The Senior Open Championship in 2010, and the 42-times European Tour Champion will be joined in Michigan by 2011 John Jacobs Trophy winner Peter Fowler, England’s Barry Lane, and six-time Walker Cup player Gary Wolstenholme, who has already claimed two successes already this year on the European Senior Tour schedule.
Former USA Ryder Cup Vice Captain Olin Browne completed a three shot victory over Mark O’Meara at last year’s staging at the Inverness Club in Ohio, with Australia’s Peter Senior the closest European Senior Tour Member, finishing in a tie for sixth place in 2011.
Chapman, Browne, and the rest of the 156-strong field travelling to Lake Orion will be competing for a share of the $2,600,000 prize fund, with the winner taking home $500,000.