At least six present and former champions will be in action when the 54-hole English Men’s Seniors Open Championship takes place at Bristol & Clifton and Long Ashton Golf Clubs on 5th – 7th June.
Reigning champion Alan Squires (Oldham, Lancashire) made history at Aldeburgh 12 months ago when he won the title for the third successive year. This followed his victories at Carlisle in 2010 and at Northants County in 2011.
He therefore joined Doug Arnold (Copthorne, Sussex) and David Lane (Goring & Streatley, BB&O) as a three-time winner and if he is successful again in Bristol he will equal Roy Smethurst’s (Crewe, Cheshire) record four titles secured in six years between 2000 and 2005.
Smethurst is again in the field of 240 golfers aged 55 and over as is John Jermine (Sunningdale, Surrey), champion in 2008, and Chris Reynolds (Littlestone, Kent), triumphant in 2009, but all these champions know there are many others capable of lifting the title, not least their senior international colleagues as well as the ‘new kids on the block’, those who have turned 55 in the past year and now qualify as senior golfers.
All seven members of the England team that regained the Seniors Home Internationals title last year are in the field, Reynolds, John Ambridge and Douglas Cameron (both Moor Park, Hertfordshire), Charlie Banks (Stanton-on-the-Wolds, Nottinghamshire), Les Bruckner (Hindhead, Surrey), Tyrone Carter (Stevenage, Hertfordshire), and Andrew Stracey (Littlestone, Kent), any one of whom could be crowned champion.
Banks, a full England cap in 1983, won three English Mid Amateur Championships in the 1990s, while Alan Mew (Stoneham, Hampshire, IoW & CI), another strong contender, won the Senior Men’s County Champions Tournament last year, having won the Mid Amateur three times in four years prior to Banks’ successes.
Others who could have a say in the destination of the title are Peter Hedges (Wildernesse, Kent), a Walker Cup player in the 1970s, John Baldwin (Sunningdale, Surrey), a prominent performer in the British Seniors for several years, and two more senior caps, Philip Slater (Sandiway, Cheshire) and Stewart King, the general manager at West Lancashire Golf Club.
Among the many newcomers to seniors golf and this championship is Richard Latham, a stalwart of Lincolnshire county golf and the General Manager of Woodhall Spa Golf Club. He turned 55 recently and is among a host of ‘new faces’ to the event having passed the senior age milestone.
The competitors will play one round over each course on the first two days after which the leading 60 and ties will complete 18 holes on the final day at Bristol & Clifton.