Fred Couples, who will defend his Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex title next week, was one of five seniors bound for Royal Birkdale to progress through to the weekend at Muirfield.
Couples, Peter Senior, Tom Lehman, Mark O’Meara and Sandy Lyle all made the cut at the 142nd Open Championship with impressive performances from the over 50s over one of golf’s toughest links tests.
O’Meara, who has twice tasted success at Royal Birkdale having not only won The Open Championship in 1998 but also the Lawrence Batley International in 1987, was only one shot off the lead after an opening 67 and looking to be in great form heading back to a course which has brought him so much success.
Couples, who played the first two rounds at Muirfield in the company of Tom Watson and Sir Nick Falso, was steadily improving with rounds of 75, 74, 73 at The Open. He too has fond memories of Royal Birkdale as the 53 year old finished tied third in The 1991 Open Championship, three shots behind champion Ian Baker Finch and one adrift of runner-up Mike Harwood after a magnificent final round of 64.
That remains his joint best finish in The Open Championship, along with St Andrews in 2005, and is one of nine top ten finishes he recorded in golf’s oldest competition without managing to capture a Claret Jug. It was not until last year he got his hands on the senior equivalent when he won the Senior Open presented by Rolex at Turnberry.
Golf fans hoping to see Couples defend his title and many more of the game’s all-time greats, including O’Meara and Tom Watson, who won The Open at Royal Birkdale in 1998 and 1983 respectively, and debutant Colin Montgomerie can reserve their place at The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex, from July 25-28.
Season tickets can now be purchased for just £80 while one day tickets cost £30. Practice day tickets are also available at £15. Under16s are admitted for free when accompanied by an adult and parking is also free.
Tickets can be bought online via www.senioropengolf.com or by calling +44 (0)800 0232557, with details of hospitality packages also available.
Royal Birkdale, which last hosted The Open Championship in 2008 when Padraig Harrington claimed his second consecutive Claret Jug, will become the 11th different course to host The Senior Open Championship. It will be only the second venue in the north west of England to host the Championship, following Royal Lytham & St Annes (1991-1994).