Friday, August 28, 2009

Casa Serena Open set for decisive role

The second edition of the Casa Serena Open is set to play an integral role in deciding the outcome of this year’s European Senior Tour Order of Merit, with the €90,000 first prize once again the largest on the schedule outside the Major Championships. Former Ryder Cup Captains Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam are currently embroiled in a fascinating race in the money list and victory for either in the second edition of the tournament, from September 18-20, would put them in pole position to win the John Jacobs Trophy, with just two events to follow. Welshman Woosnam, who won the Order of Merit in 2008, will head to the Czech Republic looking to go one better than last year when he finished runner up to Bernhard Langer, who will arguably start as favourite following his scintillating form in the United States. The German has won four times in America so far this season to top the US Champions Tour Money List, having carried forward his form of 2008 when he became the first European – and only the third player altogether following Americans Lee Trevino and Bruce Fleisher – to win the Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year and the Rookie of the Year awards in the same season on the US Champions Tour. There will also be plenty to play for further down the Order of Merit, with the €600,000 prize fund likely to have a profound impact on who finishes in the all important top 30 positions at the end of the season to ensure full playing privileges for 2010. In addition, car manufacturer Škoda is also offering a Škoda Superb 4x4 Elegance worth €38,000 to the first player to score a hole in one on the 17th hole at Casa Serena Golf. Returning for 2009 after their successful involvement in the inaugural event last year will be key sponsors Foxconn and Hewlett Packard. Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Senior Tour, said: “The Casa Serena Open is a tremendously important event on the 2009 Senior Tour schedule and is certain to have a major impact on the shaping of the Order of Merit in terms of the Number One spot and the top 30.“The warmth and hospitality shown by Maureen Chang and everyone connected with Casa Serena Golf has been a huge factor in attracting the quality field we have assembled for the second edition of this developing tournament. “Our thanks go to Terry Gou and everyone at Foxconn, Hewlett Packard and our other partner sponsors including Škoda who have offered their wonderful prize for the first professional to achieve the feat of a hole in one on the 17th hole.” After finishing three strokes clear of Woosnam following three consecutive rounds of 67 at Casa Serena Golf last year to capture his first European Senior Tour title, Langer will attempt to retain the trophy at the tournament which is staged by his brother Erwin and played in the Czech Republic where his father was born. He will be joined by John Bland, Delroy Cambridge, Mike Cunning, Carl Mason, Glenn Ralph, Bertus Smit, Torrance and Woosnam , all of whom have won on the Senior Tour in 2009.

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