Lane Eyes Tartan Treble at Fairmont St Andrews
In-form Barry Lane has a ‘Tartan Treble’ in his sights this week as the Englishman attempts to win the SSE Scottish Senior Open for a third consecutive year at Fairmont St Andrews.
The former Ryder Cup player captured his maiden European Senior Tour title in the event two years ago before successfully defending his crown in dramatic fashion 12 months ago, eagling the closing hole on the Torrance Course to finish two shots clear of Gary Koch.
He now has the chance to complete the hat-trick and become the first player to win the same tournament three times in a row since compatriot Carl Mason achieved the feat in the English Seniors Open in 2003, 2004 and 2006 – the tournament having not been contested in 2005.
Lane heads to the ‘Home of Golf’ in fine form, having tied with Mason as the leading European player in last month’s Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Turnberry. The pair shared third place with American Dick Mast over the Ailsa Course as Lane continued his love affair with golf in Scotland.
He had previously claimed his maiden European Tour title in the Scottish Open in 1988, and Lane is relishing the chance to add to his haul of honours this week.
“I love links golf and I love playing in Scotland,” he said. “Obviously it suits my game. I was very happy with the way I played in The Senior Open Championship so I’m looking forward to going back to Fairmont St Andrews. I can’t wait.”
After his own superb performance at Turnberry, Mason will also be looking to capture one of the Senior Tour titles that has so far eluded him in his glittering career since turning 50.
The Senior Tour’s most successful player, with a record 25 titles, has finished in the top 10 in five out of eight appearances in the SSE Scottish Senior Open, including runner up in 2004 and fifth last year.
He is also hoping to follow Lane in completing a Scottish double, having won the Scottish Open on The European Tour in 1994.
Former Ryder Cup Captain Sam Torrance, who helped design the course that hosts the event for a fourth consecutive year, will lead a strong Scottish challenge.
The 2006 champion is joined in the field by compatriots Gordon Brand Jnr, Ross Drummond, Andrew Oldcorn and rookie Stephen McAllister, who will be making his SSE Scottish Senior Open debut.
Former World No. 1 Ian Woosnam, a three-time winner of the Scottish Open, will be looking to build on his top 10 finish in The Senior Open Championship, while Englishman Philip Golding makes his second Senior Tour appearance following his debut at Turnberry.
The £250,000 tournament, which celebrates its 20th edition this year, is sponsored for the first time by SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy) in a partnership between green energy innovators SSE, Atkins, Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe, Subsea 7 and Technip.
Lee leads Scottish challenge in Denmark
Stirling’s Craig Lee will warm up for the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles with a return to the Challenge Tour at this week’s ECCO Tour Championship hosted by Thomas Björn & Mercedes-Benz.
Lee’s last competitive appearance was at the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity, since when he has had to be content with a watching brief as first the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and then the US PGA Championship unfolded on the other side of the Atlantic.
With no tournament on The European Tour this week, Lee has opted to tee up at Stensballegaard Golf in Horsens, Denmark, to sharpen up his game ahead of next week’s £1.4million showpiece at Gleneagles, where a repeat of his top-10 finish at the Irish Open would go a long way towards securing his playing privileges for next season.
Lee leads a nine-strong Scottish challenge, including David Law, Scott Henry, Lloyd Saltman and Steven O’Hara.