22 Jul The six Sunningdale winners back for more
Golfers love good memories. There will be six players in particular who will be filled with good feelings when they tee it up for the start of The Senior Open Presented by Rolex, having all hit the jackpot at Sunningdale Golf Club before.
Bernhard Langer, Sir Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam, Gordon Brand Jnr and Peter Senior all tasted glory in the European Open when it was held over this spectacular heathland layout, while Loren Roberts won this very event the last time it was held at the Berkshire venue in 2009.
All the performances that delivered victories for the abovementioned players were impressive in their own right, but Faldo’s comprehensive win at the 1992 European Open stands out.
The six-time Major Champion delivered a real masterclass at Sunningdale 23 years ago, shooting rounds of 67-66-64-65 to win that European Open, one of six victories during a remarkable season during which he topped The European Tour Order of Merit and in the process became the first player to complete a season with total earnings in excess of £1 million.
Woosnam is another who went very low to conquer Sunningdale on his way to European Open glory in 1988. The Welshman shot 65-66-64-65 for a 20 under par total back then.
Langer, who will be defending this week after his record-breaking victory at Royal Porthcawl in Europe’s Senior Major last year, fired a 64 on his way to victory in the European Open there 30 years ago, so he certainly knows his way around this 6,618 yard course.
Senior lifted the same trophy in 1990 – a win he was not expecting, judging by his victory speech, in which he said: “My brother and I have a pawnbroking business back home. I suppose I could have pawned my clubs. Trouble is, the way I’d been playing they wouldn’t have fetched much.”
You have to go back 30 years to 1984 to relive Brand Jnr’s win. The Scotsman had a final round 64 to thank for what was then his fourth European Tour win.
Nobody in the field will have fresher memories of what it feels like to prevail over the 114 year old course than Roberts, who won this very tournament six years ago after coming through a dramatic playoff with fellow American Fred Funk and Mark McNulty.
For the six Sunningdale winners in the field this week, the memory bank is full of golfing treasures. One of them might be lucky enough to add more special memories come the end of this week.