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Thursday, 23 August 2018
Barry Lane  (Getty Images)
Barry Lane (Getty Images)
Last year’s Willow Senior Golf Classic champion Barry Lane is taking nothing for granted as he prepares to defend his title at Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club this week.

The 1993 Ryder Cup player won in record fashion in 2017, carding the lowest-ever round on the Staysure Tour, a 12 under par 60, and a then-record tournament low of 22 under par.

Lane secured his sixth title on the European over-50s circuit, winning by five strokes from Scotland’s Gary Orr.

“It brings back great memories being here,” said Lane. “It’s really nice being the defending champion and coming back to the same golf course. It’s in good condition and the grass is lush because of the weather we’ve had recently.

“When you’re out there you remember the shots you hit and how you played, it’s a nice reminder.

“Although I shot 60, I had all the pressure on me on the Sunday to go out there and shoot a decent score and finish the job.

“It’s a very good course but, if you don’t focus, it’ll bite you. I know I have to go out there and forget about what I’ve done before. It’s nice playing on a course where you know you can go low – you still have to go out there and do it.”

Reigning Staysure Tour Number One Clark Dennis uses Hanbury Manor as a base when he travels to Europe from his home in Texas, and the American is relishing the prospect of playing on ‘home’ soil this week.

“This is a great place,” said Dennis. “There are some fantastic amenities here and it’s a great place to be when I’m not playing. It’s even nicer when I can walk out my back door this week and be on the driving range.

“It’s a great risk-reward golf course. You can shoot a really good score here, but it can come back and bite you. With Barry shooting 60 last year you know you can shoot a score, but you have to play well. His round was phenomenal; you can’t fake it round here.”

Dennis had the opportunity to play with former Arsenal goalkeeper and television presenter Bob Wilson in the Thursday Pro-Am. Wilson, along with his wife Megs, established the Willow Foundation 19 years ago.

The Foundation provides Special Days for seriously ill young adults aged 16-40, and this tournament has helped raise vital funds for the charity over the last three years with the support of the tournament’s founder Duncan Sinclair.

“It’s great that we are here supporting Willow again,” added Dennis. “Duncan is a phenomenal host, and Bob is a legend. I’m so glad that we are able to support the charity as much as we have done.”

The field this week includes no fewer than 13 Ryder Cup players, including 1999 European Captain Mark James, and Nick Job will become just the second player in history to make 300 appearances on the Staysure Tour when he tees off tomorrow.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T1DENNIS, ClarkUSA18-10
T1ORR, GarySCO18-10
T3GOLDING, PhilipENG18-9
T3CHAPMAN, RogerENG18-9
T5WOLSTENHOLME, GaryENG18-7
T5DODD, StephenWAL18-7

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