The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex retains its now favoured ‘week after The Open’ slot, and this year pays its second visit to Wales’ most highly ranked links at Royal Porthcawl from July 27-30, three years after a hugely successful first visit in 2014.
The ever-consistent and eternally competitive Bernhard Langer took a real shine to the venerable old links that year, shooting four rounds in the 60s to romp home by 13 from a distant Colin Montgomerie, and will no doubt be relishing this year’s return to Porthcawl.
Despite his 60th birthday looming large on the horizon in August, the German is showing no signs of letting up and has already recorded three Champions Tour wins and nine top tens this season, including the Regions Tradition and the Senior PGA Championship back to back in May – his eighth and ninth over-50s Majors.
Among the other favourites lining up to deny Langer will be Monty, looking to go one better than in 2014, Jose Maria Olazabal, John Daly, Tom Watson, making just his second ever tournament appearance in Wales, and Sir Nick Faldo, who is making a rare appearance to celebrate his 60th birthday, which fell on July 18 just before the event.
Defending champion Paul Broadhurst, who won on his Senior Open debut at Carnoustie last year to become the first Englishman to triumph for 30 years, has enjoyed a highly successful senior career to date. He won Rookie of the Year honours on both sides off the Atlantic last year, topping the European Tour Senior Order of Merit by nearly €180,000 and going on to win again in America at Pebble Beach.
He declares a real love for links golf so is clearly one to watch, as is Senior Open Championship first-timer and local ‘boy’, Phillip Price, who has also been plying his trade on both sides of The Pond this year, finally landing his first over-50s title in the WINSTONGolf Senior Open in Germany the week before Porthcawl thanks to a final round 67.
“This course is ideal preparation,” Price said afterwards of a course with some links-like attributes. “My game is in good order, we’re playing at a local course, I’ll be staying at home and there will be home support. I can really take some confidence into this week.”
Will it be enough confidence, though, to prevent Langer romping home by a mile again?