Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Mitchell's Defence in Wales

Peter Mitchell defends his Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open title at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club next week looking to recapture the form that brought him three titles in his rookie European Senior Tour season in 2008. The Englishman held off the challenge of home favourite Ian Woosnam by two strokes at Conwy (Caernarvonshire) Golf Club 12 months ago to win his maiden Senior Tour title in only his second event. That win gave the 51 year old the biggest pay cheque of his career and proved to be the foundation on which he built a fine rookie campaign, with further victories in the Scottish Seniors Open and the Lake Garda Italian Seniors Open helping him to third place in the Order of Merit. Mitchell has made a slower start to the 2009 season, finishing 12th in both Mallorca and Ireland and missing the cut in the US Senior PGA Championship, but he is looking forward to returning to Royal Porthcawl where he has fond memories of playing in the Welsh Golf Classic on The European Tour in 1980. “It will be great to return to Wales as defending champion,” he said. “I’ve not played Royal Porthcawl for a long time. The last time was when we played it as a European Tour event a long time ago but I remember it being a very good golf course and a very pretty little town. “I teed it up with Greg Norman and Tertius Claassens and they used to bomb it, the pair of them, so I have some nice memories. It will be nice to go back there as defending champion in this tournament and hopefully I can perform well. “I was lucky enough to win three events last year and it would be nice to get some form this season. I didn’t do anything over the winter – I was busy opening up my golf academies – so I’m looking forward to getting back into it. “There’s a lot of good players who are 50 now and you see some very strong leaderboards but I would like to think that I can compete. It’s one of the biggest prize funds again so it would be a nice one to nick. “Last year was great. A lot of people came out to support us, I think there must have been about 5,000 people at one point, so to win was lovely. It was my first victory so it was special but I’ve still got my eye on picking up some wins this year.” Joining Mitchell in the field for the ninth edition of the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open from June 19-21 will be home favourite Woosnam, who last week won his third European Senior Tour title in the Irish Seniors Open in association with Fáilte Ireland and AIB Bank when he defeated Bob Boyd in a play-off. Former Ryder Cup players Gordon J Brand, Costantino Rocca and Sam Torrance are also in the field, along with Carl Mason, the winner in 2005 and 2007. There is also a return to Royal Porthcawl for Des Smyth and Gordon Brand Jnr, who won the Welsh Golf Classic on The European Tour at the Mid Glamorgan venue in 1981 and 1982 respectively. With a prize fund of £500,000 and a first prize of £75,000, the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open is the second most lucrative event on The European Senior Tour. For more information about the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open, visit www.rydercupwales2010.com or contact 029 2092 3951

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