Englishman Philip Golding will be hoping he has cause for a double celebration this week when he makes his European Senior Tour debut in The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Turnberry.
The 2003 Open de France winner turns 50 on Wednesday, the day before The 26th Senior Open Championship begins, and he will be looking to make an immediate impact on the Senior Tour.
Golding finished tied 23rd in the Alstom Open de France on The European Tour earlier this month, and he is now relishing the challenge of competing against some of the game’s all-time greats over the famous Ailsa Course, including Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer, Greg Norman and Tom Watson.
“I turn 50 the day before The Senior Open and it will be nice going from being the oldest player in the field in France a couple of weeks ago to the youngest again,” he said.
“It’s a new beginning in a way, meeting up with the guys I’ve not seen in a long while. I’m lucky to start my first event in The Senior Open – I won’t forget it.
“I was up at Turnberry a few weeks ago and played it for the first time. It’s a wonderful course. To make my Senior Tour debut in The Senior Open Championship, at such an iconic venue – I really couldn’t ask for any more.”
One player Golding is particularly looking forward to catching up with at Turnberry is Roger Chapman, who will be trying to win the Senior Major Grand Slam having two weeks ago added the US Senior Open Championship to the US Senior PGA Championship he won in May.
“I’m not a big watcher of golf on TV, but I know that Roger Chapman has done very well,” he said.
“He is a good friend of mine so it will be good to catch up with him following his recent wins. I know Barry Lane and Carl Mason have done well too so it will be nice to catch up with them. I remember talking to Carl Mason in between him ending on The European Tour and starting on the main Tour and he was refereeing. He said he felt as though he could do well and of course he has.
“The Senior Tour is very relaxed but still very competitive. I’m looking forward to playing with all these guys. I am going to keep working on my game. I need to keep working on the short game and my fitness.
“It has come round so quickly for me though – I don’t feel 50 at all.”
Golding is among a group of former European Tour winners making their debut in The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex this week, joining Spaniard Miguel Angel Martin, Scotland’s Stephen McAllister and Ireland’s Philip Walton.