The Senior Open Preview, Picks & Analysis
AFTER a two-year absence because of the pandemic, the Senior Open returns, with the seemingly ageless Bernhard Langer defending his title at the stunning Sunningdale Golf Club.
Langer beat Paul Broadhurst by two shots at Royal Lytham to claim what was his 11th senior major title and 40th win on PGA Tour Champions.
Starting three shots off the overnight lead held by Broadhurst, the 61-year-old German fired a 4-under 66 to finish at 6-under 274 for his fourth Senior Open title, a tournament record.
After heavy rain delayed the round by almost six hours, the two-time Masters champion opened with four birdies on the front nine and added two more on Nos. 13 and 14 at Royal Lytham & St Annes to build a four-stroke lead. He completed the round with a couple of bogeys on the 15th and 17th.
Broadhurst shot 71 to come second.
Retief Goosen of South Africa closed with a 66 to tie for third with American Tim Petrovic (68) with a 3-under 277.
In what was his last appearance at the tournament, three-time champion Tom Watson finished tied for 64th at 9 over. On the Saturday, the then 69-year-old American announced he wouldn't be playing at the event again. In his 18 appearances, he never missed the cut.
Many major champions will be in action this week, including Langer, Darren Clarke, Paul Lawrie, Tom Lehman, Ian Woosnam, Jim Furyk, Jose Maria Olazabal, Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel and Ernie Els.
Els is playing in his first Senior Open and will begin the tournament as a warm favourite after a great start to his career on the Champions Tour.
The South African won The Open and the US Open twice and even at the age of 51 still hits the ball a long way with that silky smooth golf swing. On the face of it, nothing much has changed since he was in his prime, but he would be the first to admit that he has had his struggles on the greens.
He topped the 2003 and 2004 European Tour Order of Merit and won the World Matchplay a record seven times. He was the leading career money winner on the European Tour until overtaken by Lee Westwood in 2011, and was the first member of the tour to earn over €25million. He has held the number one spot in the world rankings and until 2013 held the record for weeks ranked in the top 10 with 788.
When not playing, Els has a golf course design business, a charitable foundation that supports golf among underprivileged youth in South Africa, and a wine-making business. But when he has a golf club in his hands the only thing on his mind is winning.
Lawrie and Miguel Angel Jimenez are both proud men who still possess proper games. Jimenez is a previous winner and will fancy his chances of lifting the trophy again.
It was won in 2015 by Marco Dawson, in 2016 by Paul Broadhurst, in 2017 and 2019 by Bernhard Langer and in 2018 by Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Sunningale measures 6,617 yards and is a magnificent parkland course littered with gorse and well-placed bunkers. It is one of the most beautiful inland courses in the world.
Ernie Els. Wonderful swing
Paul Lawrie. Feisty competitor
Miguel Angel Jimenez. As good as he ever was
Five to Follow:
Ernie Els. Still hits the ball a long way
Paul Lawrie. Would love to win a senior major
Miguel Angel Jimenez. Terrific entertainer
Bernhard Langer. The man is a machine
Jim Furyk. In form after US Senior Open victory
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