Roger Chapman is targeting an historic Senior Major Grand Slam at next week’s Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex after completing a ‘Michigan Major Double’ at the US Senior Open Championship on Sunday.
Chapman overturned Bernhard Langer’s four stroke 54-hole lead with a closing round of 66 to finish two shots clear of the German and the American trio of Fred Funk, Tom Lehman and Corey Pavin at Indianwood Golf and Country Club in Michigan, just six weeks after he claimed the US Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores, in the same State.
Only the legendary Gary Player has managed the clean sweep of Majors on the European Senior Tour, with the South African capturing the US Senior PGA, The Senior Open Championship and the US Senior Open in 1988.
Now Chapman has the chance to match that remarkable feat at Turnberry next week – coincidentally, the same venue where Player won his Senior Open title in his Grand Slam 24 years ago.
As he sets his sights on the hat-trick, the 53 year old admits he is still coming to terms with his stunning achievements so far in 2012.
“It hasn't sunk in yet, but it is very, very special,” said Chapman. “There are only three other guys that have done a double with the US Senior PGA and the US Senior Open in the same season. And to follow in Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Hale Irwin's footsteps is a true honour.
He added: “To win any championship, whether it be a regular Tour event or a Senior Major, you have to have that consistency.
“In the past, I was quite good at three rounds but not finishing off. So to play three good rounds, the first three rounds, and then to come out on the last day and shoot 66 shows that the consistency and the ball-striking and the short game is beginning to take fruition. I’m just really looking forward to Turnberry right now.”
As a two-time Senior Major Champion, Chapman will undoubtedly head to Turnberry with more confidence than he did when making his debut in a Major Championship over the Ailsa Course 35 years ago.
“I grew up playing links golf in Kent at courses like Royal St. George’s, Sandwich and Royal Cinque Ports, and I played plenty of links golf as an amateur,” said Chapman.
“I’ve played in The Open Championship 17 times during my career and I’m quite comfortable playing seaside golf.
“Winning at Indianwood was good preparation for The Senior Open Championship. When you look out over the course from the first fairway you can see the humps and hillocks, which reminded me of the links courses of Scotland. The layout certainly had a Scottish links theme and feel.
“Fortunately, I’m a bit more experienced and I’m full of confidence after my two back-to-back Senior Major victories, so I won’t be feeling quite the same as I did when I played in my first Open Championship at Turnberry. That was back in 1977, the year of Tom Watson’s victory over Jack Nicklaus in the famous ‘Duel in the Sun.’
“As an amateur, I’d qualified for The Open at West Herts Golf Club and then at Western Gailes in Ayrshire. I remember standing on the seventh tee looking out over the Ailsa Course and gazing at the huge crowds and thinking, ‘What on earth am I doing here.’ I felt totally out of my depth.
“It would be a boyhood dream to win another Major on home soil.”
Chapman will be joined by a world-class field at Turnberry which includes Senior Open Championship debutant Fred Couples and Watson, a three-time Senior Open Champion.
Advance tickets to for The 2012 Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Turnberry can now be purchased online at www.senioropengolf.com, where discounts and offers can also be found.
Hospitality packages for each of the four Championship days are also now available at £95 per person inc VAT, which includes admittance to the course along with a three-course lunch and glass of champagne in Turnberry’s signature restaurant, 1906, reserved parking, a Championship programme and a draw sheet.
American Russ Cochran won The 2011 Senior Open Championship at Walton Heath, England, holding off the challenge of former Open Champion Mark Calcavecchia, three-time Senior Open Champion Watson and 2010 United States Ryder Cup Captain Pavin.Watson will be returning to Turnberry where he won The Open Championship in 1977, defeating Nicklaus in the famous ‘Duel in the Sun’, and The Senior Open Championship in 2003, defeating Carl Mason in a play-off. He also came agonisingly close to winning the Claret Jug over the Ailsa Course in 2009 at the age of 59, losing in a play-off to compatriot Stewart Cink.