Log jam of contenders headline Senior Open

The State of Nebraska is anxiously awaiting the arrival of the best from the over 50 ranks for this week’s 34th US Senior Open at the 6,711-yard, par-70 Omaha Country Club in Omaha, Nebraska.

Defending champion Roger Chapman grabbed the golf world’s attention last year when he won the US Senior Open by two strokes over Corey Pavin, Fred Funk, Tom Lehman and Bernhard Langer.

Steve Elkington Steve Elkington (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Chapman was the first Englishman to win a USGA tournament since Tony Jacklin won the US Open in 1970 – a list recently expanded to include Justin Rose after his U.S. Open triumph at Merion in June.

Chapman also won the Senior PGA championship last year, joining Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Hale Irwin as the only players to win both tournaments in the same year.

“To be on that list with those names, sends chills down my spine,” Chapman said.

Just four Australians – Peter Senior, Steve Elkington, Peter Fowler and Graham Marsh – will tee it up at the undulating Perry Maxwell design that will certainly provide a test of the players’ fitness, let alone their golf games.

The large, rolling greens are expected to be hit between 12 and 12 ½ on the Stimpmeter and combined with the regular USGA championship setup, a challenging four rounds lies ahead.

Perennial Champions Tour headliners Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples, John Cook and David Frost will be among the favourites, as will last start winner at the Seniors Players Championship, Kenny Perry.

Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie also looms as a real contender in only his second Champions Tour start since turning 50 in June.

Despite not having won on a USGA setup, Montgomerie has a strong track record having been runner-up in the U.S. Open on three occasions, most recently in 2006 at Winged Foot behind Geoff Ogilvy.