Ian Woosnam (pictured by Getty Images) is hoping to kick start his season when he tees it up in this week’s Senior Open de Portugal.
The victorious 2006 Ryder Cup Captain has missed the last two events at Woburn and Moscow Country Club but returns to action at Vidago Palace looking to add to his career haul of four European Senior Tour titles.
His best finishes so far this season have come at the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open and the SSE Scottish Senior Open where he finished in a tie for 19th place, but he remains confident a good performance is just around the corner.
“I have played some good rounds this season but I have just not been consistent enough,” said the former Masters Champion. “I had two solid rounds at the Scottish Senior Open but then closed with an 80. I also carded a 64 in the second round of the English Senior Open so I know there’s some good golf in there.
“It’s all about being able to put three good rounds together and that’s what I haven’t been able to do this year.
“My back has been causing a few problems but it is okay at the moment so maybe this is going to be my week.”
One of the form horses heading into the Senior Open de Portugal is Canada’s Rick Gibson who won the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open back in July. He followed that Swiss success the following week with a tie for third at The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex in July, before finishing runner-up behind Colin Montgomerie last time out at Russian Open Golf Championship (Senior).
That run has seen Gibson jump up to third place behind Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer on the Senior Tour Order of Merit with earnings of €201,852.
“I’m enjoying my golf at the moment. It has taken a while but I have learned to relax and let things happen. I’m comfortable in my own skin,” said Gibson.
“The course here has a little bit of everything. It starts out with some tight holes and then opens out a bit. It will be interesting come Sunday because the closing stretch is very tough.
“For example the par five 17th is one of those holes where you can get an eagle but just as easily score a seven. The leader won’t be comfortable even if he’s three shots in front with two holes to go.”
Gibson is joined at Vidago Palace by three other players who have tasted success this season, namely Santiago Luna (ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship), Mark Davies (SSE Scottish Senior Open) and Cesar Monasterio (English Senior Open), as well as by no less than seven of those players who finished inside the top ten last week in Moscow.
Paul Eales, Marc Farry, Phil Golding, Miguel Angel Martin, Andrew Oldcorn, Tim Thelen and Steen Tinning can all look forward to building on their fine performances in Russia, while another player who might do well on the tight and undulating Portugal venue is England’s Gary Wolstenholme.
“I have always loved coming to Portugal and I like the course a lot,” he said.
“I haven’t been firing on all cylinders for the last few weeks but if I can get things going I know I can do well round here. You don’t need to be long but you have to keep it in the fairways.
Source: European Tour