The qualifying event for this year’s Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex has attracted a near record number of entries, with almost 500 players attempting to join iconic names such as Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Tom Watson and Ian Woosnam in the field at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club.
Three courses - Ashburnham Golf Club, Pyle & Kenfig Golf Club and Southerndown Golf Club – will host the Monday qualifying event on July 21, with the total field across the venues within touching distance of last year’s record number at Royal Birkdale.
Each venue will welcome around 130 qualifiers, with players travelling from all corners of the globe to vie for approximately 30 spots in the Championship at Royal Porthcawl from Thursday July 24 -27, which itself already has more than 110 exempt players.
The influx of nearly 500 golfers, and the entourages they bring with them, will provide a significant economic boost to the region of Porthcawl, Bridgend and Swansea. This benefit will only increase during the week of the tournament, with thousands of spectators expected for the 28th edition of the Championship.
The credentials of all three qualifying venues are without question, and should act as perfect preparation for those who earn their place in the tournament proper.
Ashburnham Golf Club in Carmarthenshire celebrated its centenary in 1994 by hosting the Amateur Home Internationals. Previously it had also played host to the PGA Championship in 1959, which was won by Dai Rees, and again ten years later when Bernard Gallacher triumphed.
Another Ryder Cup captain, Sam Torrance, also won the Martini Open at the venue in 1976, capturing his second European Tour title after a maiden victory earlier that year in the Piccadilly Medal.
Pyle & Kenfig Golf Club hosted the Senior Ladies British Open Amateur Championship in 2009 and has twice assisted with the stroke play rounds of The Amateur Championship.
Southerndown Golf Club, another superb Welsh links course, was opened in 1905 and designed by a number of leading architects, including Willie Fernie, Herbert Fowler, Willie Park, Harry Colt and Donald Steel.
It hosted the Martini International in 1968, won by home favourite Brian Huggett, as well as the Piccadilly Medal in 1970 and 1971.
All of those entering the 18 hole pre-cursor to the main event will hope to follow in the footsteps of American Pete Oakley, who came through the qualification process en route to a maiden Senior Major title in 2004 at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland.
Every player who does make it to Royal Porthcawl will hope to emulate last year’s winner Mark Wiebe, who returned on Monday morning to defeat Bernhard Langer in a sudden-death play-off, after darkness had forced play to be suspended the night before.
He was the tenth American to take the title in the past 11 years, and everyone entering the qualification process will dream of replicating his achievement on the south Wales coast when the Championship gets under way.
Tickets are now on sale to see many of golf’s most iconic names in action at Royal Porthcawl.
Any One Day tickets for the biggest Senior golf championship in Europe are priced at £30, while season tickets, which include the Official Practice Day on Wednesday, July 23, are only £80. Practice day entry on July 23 only is £15.
Under-16s are admitted free of charge, while car parking is located on site close to the course and is also free. Anyone wishing to sample the golf and also the facilities within Porthcawl town centre will be able to hop on and hop off an open top double decker bus which will run daily between a number of locations around the town and the golf course.
For adults and kids alike, there is plenty of fun to be found in the Activity Zone located in the Tented Village at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club. There is an opportunity to enjoy the facilities within the Village and participate in a number of activities including free PGA golf lessons supported by The R&A in the Swing Zone while Golf Development Wales will be on site to lend their support to the activities.
Also, the public will be invited to attempt a range of challenges, both authentic and with a simulator, such as trying to hole in one or hole a bunker shot – all for the cost of a minimum £2 donation towards the Championship’s two Official Charities, Age Cymru and Tenovus.
Additionally, hospitality packages for the four official days of championship play are selling out fast. Friday is already sold out and Sunday is filling up quickly so act now to purchase an outstanding day out at Royal Porthcawl, for just £99 plus VAT.
The Senior Open Hospitality package will be located within our tented village which is located close to the 18th green and includes admission ticket, parking, breakfast, two-course lunch with wine, programme and drawsheet and guaranteed seat in the 18th green grandstand.
Tickets for The 2014 Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Royal Porthcawl can be bought online via www.senioropengolf.com or by calling +44 (0)800 0232557, with details of the hospitality packages also available.
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