Almost 30 years ago to the day, Barry Lane won the 1988 Scottish Open — beating a strong field to claim his first victory on the European Tour.
Now, as he prepares for the WINSTONgolf Senior Open, and with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open underway, the Englishman speaks with a genuine fondness about his life-changing week.
“I remember it actually as if it was yesterday. I really, really do,” said Lane. “I remember so many of the shots. I hit a magnificent drive at the last, over all the humps and down and I remember hitting a great shot at 17 too.”
The five-time European Tour winner, who also has six Staysure Tour titles to his name, pointed out that the course of history might be different if it were not for a tip from a legendary instructor on the Gleneagles practice grounds the day before the tournament.
“I was playing very poorly when I arrived there. The week before I was awful, and then I played really poorly in the Pro-Am the day before the Scottish Open.
“I was hitting balls on the range and Bob Torrance —Sam’s father— walked past me and I said, ‘Bob, I’m really struggling, could you just have a little look and see, maybe if there’s anything you could say?’
“He took a look and he said, ‘Aye, straighten your right arm.’ So I straightened my right arm at impact and I played really nicely, and I got better every day.
“I was tied going into the final round with Roger Chapman, and I won by three in the end, but it didn’t feel very easy.”
The maiden win, which came the week before The Open Championship, meant the world to Lane who had worked so hard to achieve his goal.
“I was elated. All my life all I wanted was to win a tournament, and so the Scottish Open is special. I’ve also won two Senior Scottish Opens as well, so there’s something there and I’m looking forward to getting back for The Senior Open.”
While the home of golf has been good to Lane, Germany — the host nation of this week’s WINSTONgolf Senior Open — has also been kind to the 58 year old, who lifted his second European Tour trophy at the 1992 German Masters.
With seven sub-70 rounds already this season, the 1993 Ryder Cup player will aim to put it all together this week on the stunning ‘inland’ links design.
“It’s been a bit funny because I’ve been scoring nicely, but last week I was leading and had a bad last round and in Italy I was playing poorly and had a great last round, and in Denmark I was tied for the lead then played awful, but finished birdie, eagle to come second.
“This is a wonderful place and they’ve done a great job to build a links style course here, and it’s really fun to play.”
Day One of the WINSTONgolf Senior Open begins tomorrow, with notables Ian Woosnam, Paul McGinley, Ronan Rafferty and Eamonn Darcy, amongst several other Ryder Cup stars in the field. Lane will tee off at 9:20.
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