Golf: Oldcorn chapping at door in bid for third-time lucky

Andrew Oldcorn

Andrew Oldcorn

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CAPITAL star Andrew Oldcorn will be aiming to upstage senior golf’s man of the moment, Roger Chapman, in a bid to put the icing on his career in Ayrshire this week.

With three European Tour 
titles, including the PGA Championship, to his name on the regular circuit, Oldcorn had nothing to prove to anyone when he joined the over-50s brigade two years ago.

He has since built on that 
impressive CV by adding a Senior PGA Championship, having claimed that title at Slaley Hall in Northumberland just over a year ago.

It helped Oldcorn finish third on the European Senior Tour money-list and he is lying fifth on that this year, helped by a brace of second-placed finishes.

Those performances, coupled with two top-60 finishes in the opening senior majors of the year, mean Oldcorn will be feeling confident heading into this week’s $2 million Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex at Turnberry.

It’s his third bite at the cherry in the event, having missed the cut at Carnoustie on his debut in 2010 before finishing 54th at Walton Heath 12 months ago.

That was a decent effort given it was during the tournament that he first started to encounter a recurrence of an eye problem that eventually led to him having surgery and having a spell on the sidelines.

“Before the eye problem at the Senior Open last year I had not been out of the top ten since Japan the previous November, but after it I was not even in the top 20 until Mauritius,” the 52-year-old recalled.

There, he returned to action to claim a share of ninth place in the season-ending MCB Tour Championship to seal third spot on the Order of Merit behind Australian Peter Fowler and Englishman Barry Lane.

“I probably came back too early in Mauritius, but I was keen to safeguard my place in the top four on the Order of Merit as that got into the US Senior Open,” he added.

“The eye seems fine now, though I’ve had to make some adjustments to the lie of my clubs as I’ve now had two 
eyes operated on and it alters how I see the ground and the ball.”

The event, which starts 
tomorrow, sees Tom Watson back at Turnberry for the first time since he came close to winning a sixth Open title at the age of 59 three years ago.

Watson, of course, claimed the Claret Jug at the Ayrshire course in 1977 and a plaque was being unveiled today on the 18th to mark his second shot there en route to beating Jack Nicklaus in their infamous “Duel in the Sun”.

Russ Cochran, the left-hander who won at Walton Heath 12 months ago, is unable to defend his title due to a back injury.

But, as always, the 
American challenge is strong for this event, with Watson being joined by the likes of Mark Calcavecchia, Fred Couples and Corey Pavin.

Calcavecchia has arrived in Ayrshire, where he won the 1989 Open at Royal Troon, with a spring in his step after tying for tenth at Royal Lytham & St Annes on Sunday.

Another senior star on form is Chapman, the 53-year-old Englishman who heads into the event bidding to become only the second man after Gary Player to complete the over-50s grand slam.

It follows him completing a “Michigan Major Double” 
already this year, having won the US Senior PGA and the US Senior Open in the state.

Oldcorn spearheads a 
eleven-strong home challenge that also includes Senior Tour stalwarts Sam Torrance, Sandy Lyle, Bill Longmuir, Ross Drummond and Gordon Brand Jnr. Winterfield pro Kevin Phillips came through qualifying earlier this week along with Stephen McAllister, who is attached to The Renaissance Club in East Lothian, plus Tartan Tour 
players Campbell Elliot, Alastair Webster and Peter Smith.