English sensation Roger Chapman will launch his historic Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex bid alongside Open Champions Tom Watson and Greg Norman when the first round gets underway at Turnberry on Thursday.
Having already captured the US Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores in May – only the third victory in his professional career – Chapman made it a Michigan Major double two weeks ago with a stunning two-shot triumph at the US Senior Open at Indianwood Golf and Country Club.
Now the 53 year old has his sights set on inscribing another indelible entry into the golfing history books as he looks to become only the second player ever to win both the aforementioned Senior Majors and The Senior Open Championship in the same season, South Africa’s Gary Player having completed the remarkable feat in 1988.
Chapman will be teeing it up at 09.50 on Thursday morning with Australia’s Norman, who won his first of two Open Championships at Turnberry in 1986, and American legend Watson, a man whose name is synonymous with the Ailsa Course.
The Kansas man claimed his second Open Championship on the Ayrshire layout in 1977, then the first of three Senior Open titles in 2003, while narrowly missing out on what would surely have been one of the greatest sporting stories of all time when he lost to compatriot Stewart Cink in a play-off for The 138th Open Championship in 2009.
There is history everywhere you look in the assembled field of 33 Major Champions and countless Ryder Cup stars, as 2006 European Captain Ian Woosnam will play the opening two rounds with 2011 John Jacobs Trophy winner Peter Fowler and American John Cook at 14.00 on Thursday.
Meanwhile, 2010 US Ryder Cup Captain Corey Pavin, runner-up at Carnoustie in The Senior Open Championship of the same year and tied third last year at Walton Heath, takes to the tee alongside Tim Thelen, twice a winner on the Senior Tour this year, and fellow countryman Michael Allen at 10.00.
Senior Open debutant Philip Golding will make up a three-ball with Argentina’s Eduardo Romero, who fell one short at Turnberry at this event in 2006 as the third member of their group, Loren Roberts, claimed his first of two Senior Open titles.
Bernhard Langer, Senior Open Champion in 2010, takes to the links over the first two days with 1985 Open victor Sandy Lyle and America’s Fred Funk, while the aforesaid Player, the three-time Senior Open champion including on two occasions at Turnberry, tees up with 2008 Champion Bruce Vaughan and England’s Gordon J Brand, who finished second to Norman at the 1986 Open Championship held on the Ailsa Course.
Another reputable debutant making his Senior Open bow this week on the Ayrshire Coast is America’s Fred Couples, who will play alongside compatriot Mark Calcavecchia, who finished in the top ten in last week’s Open Championship, and England’s Barry Lane.