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Golfers With the Most Appearances on the European Tour

By: | Mon 20 Jan 2020 | Comments

WHEN Soren Kjeldsen teed it up at the start of Abu Dhabi Championship, he joined a pretty elite club. The 44-year-old Dane became the 12th golfer to have played in at least 600 European Tour events. With four victories to his credit, he will be determined to add a few more starts before he calls it quits on his playing career. Of the 12 players on the list, six are still competing. Here we look at the complete list.

1. Sam Torrance (706)

The Scot, who was born in 1953, won 21 times on the European Tour and holds the record for the most number of tournament appearances. He turned professional in 1970 and added a further 11 titles to his name on the European Seniors Tour. Torrance played on eight Ryder Cup teams, from 1981 to 1995, winning four times. He was the winning non-playing captain of the European Ryder Cup team in 2002. He was somewhat accident-prone, which makes his feat of playing in 706 events all the more remarkable.

2. Miguel Angel Jimenez (691*)

Jimenez improved with age. Born in 1964, he won 21 European Tour titles and played on two victorious Ryder Cup teams, as well as being a vice-captain. Incredibly, 14 of his wins came after he turned 40 and he holds the record as the oldest winner on tour, claiming the Spanish Open in May 2014 when he was 50 years old. He divides his time between the European Tour and Champions Tour and could yet overtake Torrance. And he still believes that he is quite capable of winning again - and is playing in the Dubai Desert Classic.

3. Barry Lane (685)

Lane was born in Henley-on-Thames in 1960 and only started playing golf when he was 14. At the age of 16, he became an assistant professional at Downshire Golf Club, where he remained for eight years. He first qualified for the European Tour in 1982 but had to return to qualifying school several times before finally establishing himself. Although a consistent performer, he only won five times on the main tour, although by December 2019 he had 11 victories on the Seniors Tour to his credit. He played in the Ryder Cup once.

4. Colin Montgomerie (639)

One of the best players never to have won a major, Monty finished on top of the Order of Merit on eight occasions, including seven on the trot - nobody has ever come close. Born in 1963, he has won 31 European Tour events, the most of any British player, placing him fourth on the all-time list of golfers with most European Tour victories. The Scot finished second in majors on five occasions and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2013. At the start of 2020 he had won three senior majors. He played in eight Ryder Cup matches and captained Europe to victory in 2010.

5. David Howell (635*)

Born in 1975, Howell reached the peak of his powers in 2006 when he won the BMW PGA Championship and reached the top 10 in the world rankings. He was a member of the European Ryder Cup team in 2004 and 2006. He still plays, mixing tournament play with TV commentary.

6. Raphael Jacquelin (628*)

Jacquelin was born in Lyon in 1974 and turned professional in 1995 after winning the French Amateur Championship. Jacquelin began his professional career on the Challenge Tour. In 1997 he claimed two wins on his way to finishing fourth on the season ending money list, which was enough to secure him full playing privileges on the European Tour. His first victory on tour came in his 238th start at the 2005 Madrid Open. He has won three further tournaments.

7. Robert Karlsson (628*)

Karlsson was born in Sweden in 1969. He turned professional in 1989 and qualified for membership of the European Tour in 1990. The highlight of his career came in 2008 when he won the Order of Merit after victories at the Mercedes-Benz Championship and Alfred Dunhill Links. He has finished in the top 20 of the Order of Merit seven times throughout his career and has won 11 events on tour.

8. Roger Chapman (619)

Chapman played in 619 tournaments and won just one of them, the catchily-named 2000 Brazil Rio de Janeiro 500 Years Open. It came in his 472nd start. On the other hand, he finished in the top 100 in the Order of Merit in 19 out of 21 years, with a best of 17th in 1988. Born in 1959, he joined the Champions Tour and promptly won the 2012 Senior PGA Championship and US Senior Open.

9. Paul Lawrie (614*)

Lawrie’s finest hour came in 1999 when he famously shot a final round of 67 in The Open at Carnoustie to overturn a 10-shot deficit. He ended up in a playoff with Jean Van de Velde and Justin Leonard, and went on to win it. That tournament will always be remembered for Van de Velde’s meltdown at the final hole, but Lawrie’s 67 was one of the great rounds of golf. Born in 1969, the Scot won eight times on the European Tour and played in two Ryder Cup matches.

10. Eamonn Darcy (610)

Darcy, from Ireland, was famous for a swing that featured many moving parts, but he somehow made it work. Born in County Wicklow in 1952, Darcy won four times on the European Tour and played in four Ryder Cup matches. In the 1980s he finished in the top 30 of the Order of Merit eight times. His finest hour came at the 1987 Ryder Cup when he defeated Ben Crenshaw on the final hole to secure a crucial point that helped Europe win the Ryder Cup 15-13 on American soil. It was the only Ryder Cup match he ever won.

11. Malcolm Mackenzie (605)

Even Mackenzie would admit that, despite his 605 starts, he was a journeyman. Born in 1961, he turned professional in 1980 and finished on the top 100 in the Order of Merit 12 times, with a best of 25th place achieved in 1990. He holds the record for waiting the longest period of time for a maiden success. He won the French Open in 2002 in what was his 509th start - Roger Chapman is next on the list, having waited until his 472nd tournament. Mackenzie’s last full season on tour was 2005.

12. Soren Kjeldsen (600*)

The little Dane is the latest to join the list. Born in 1975, he turned professional in 1995 and qualified for the European Tour in 1998, where he has remained ever since. His first title came in 2003 at the Diageo Championship at Gleneagles, and his second was at the prestigious Volvo Masters in 2008, which was the final staging of the event before it was replaced by the Dubai World Championship. He ended that year 10th on the Order of Merit and has a total of four wins to his credit.

* denotes still active

Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography

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