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July 26-29 Senior British Open


Turnberry (Ailsa Course) (Par 70/6,976 yards) Turnberry, Scotland


CONSIDERING THAT THE CHAMPIONS TOUR didn’t formally begin until 1980, it’s not surprising that the Senior British Open’s inaugural championship wasn’t played until 1987, when the venerable Neil Coles won at Turnberry’s Ailsa Course, the site of seven Senior British Opens, including this year’s playing. This makes the championship a relative babe in arms when compared with the British Open, which began in 1860. All that being noted, the Senior British Open has squeezed a lot of history into a relatively few years. Members of the World Golf Hall of Fame like Gary Player, Bob Charles and Tom Watson have their names engraved on the championship trophy—in Player’s and Watson’s case three times (all three men also won the British Open). Until Watson broke through with his first victory in 2003, international players dominated the championship. Tom Wargo’s victory in 1994 was the first by an American and the only one until Watson in 2003.


COCHRAN’S DRAMATIC WIN Russ Cochran won the Senior British Open by two shots last year at Walton Heath, but it wasn’t easy as he was chased right to the wire by two former British Open champions, Watson and Mark Calcavecchia. It was his third Champions Tour victory (and first major). Cochran,


52, took command of


Russ Cochran won with an impressive final-round 67.


on No. 14 cut his lead to two strokes and turned up the heat. Still, he managed to close with an impressive 67. “It’s a big hump I got over there,” said Cochran, whose son, Reed, was his caddie, which doubtlessly helped. “To do it in a major and on this golf course means so much. And to do it with the kids here, it’s even better.” If Cochran was elated, Calcavecchia had to have been crushed, having held the overnight lead with Cochran and South Africa’s David Frost. His downfall came on the par-3 ninth when he four-putted from 15 feet for a costly double bogey. Cochran had been serving notice that he was


due to make a statement on the Champions Tour. He finished third in the 2009 U.S. Senior Open and won two tournaments in a three- week stretch in 2010, as well as finishing third at the 2010 Senior British Open at Carnoustie. “That’s the beauty of the Champions Tour,” said


the


championship with six birdies on the first 10 holes, which gave him a five-stroke lead. A bogey


Tom Lehman Russ Cochran Tom Watson Nick Price John Cook


Mark Calcavecchia David Eger Jeff Sluman Mark Wiebe Peter Senior


EVENTS 12 9 7


13 14 13 13 15 13 13


POINTS 1,533 1,163 1,064 1,053 868 866 822 769 721 717


Watson. “You can have these guys that come out and shine. You find these stories of the guys you don’t know about.” ■


CHARLES SCHWAB CUP STANDINGS PLAYER


370 469 480 665 667 711 764 812 816


3 1 1 1 3 -


1 1 1 -


7 7 3 8 4 7 4 7 6 6


POINTS BEHIND WINS TOP 10 -


“TO DO IT IN A MAJOR AND ON THIS GOLF COURSE MEANS SO MUCH.” —Russ Cochran


Course Insight Turnberry


(Ailsa Course)


In 1902, golf course designer Willie Fernie was commissioned by the Marquess of Ailsa to lay out a championship course. In 1906, a hotel was built, and the course began to take its current structure. During World War II, Fernie’s layout was paved over to make runways for the RAF. Following the war, Phillip Mackenzie Ross was charged with the task of retuning the course to its former greatness, a painstaking project that took two years. The first of its four Opens was the historic “Duel in the Sun” between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus in 1977. Watson emerged victorious by a stroke after 36 holes of intense, head-to-head competition that many observers feel was the finest 36 holes of competition ever played in a major championship. The 18th hole was renamed the “Duel in the Sun” after the championship.


Tournament Record 263, Tom Watson, Carl Mason, 2003


Tournament 18-Hole Record 62, Jim Colbert, 2003


ESPN


Ticket Information www.pgatour.com/ tournaments/s614


156 PGA TOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE 2012 www.pgatour.com


© WALTON HEATH


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