The £3 million event returned to the European Tour schedule in 2015 after a break of seven years but it has long been recognised as one of the flagship events of the European Tour with an honour roll that includes some of the greats of European and world golf.
Seve Ballesteros, Sir Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, Tony Jacklin, Lee Trevino, Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam are but a few of the game’s best to have won the title and this week two of the modern greats get their chance when Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy look to win one of Europe’s more prestigious championships for the first time.
Close House, the venue, was opened in 2011 and will play host for the first occasion, the original Scott McPherson-designed layout having been tweaked with the assistance of the venue’s touring professional Lee Westwood who is essentially the host for the week.
Garcia has been in good enough form in recent starts for him to be a real chance to win this week having finished 12th and 10th in his last two outings in the US including his top 10 against a significantly stronger line-up last week in Atlanta.
McIlroy has been below his best in recent starts, certainly compared to earlier in the year, not making it to the Tour Championship but his class will take him a long way this week.
Westwood’s 3rd place finish at the KLM Open two weeks ago suggests he is in good enough form to do well despite the expectations he will carry as the effective host of the event.
Australians in the field are headed in terms of world ranking, and perhaps chance, by Scott Hend who was runner-up in Switzerland three weeks ago and then 17th in a Web.Com Tour Final event and appears to have made the decision to play this event ahead of a chance to gain a PGA Tour card via the Web.Com Tour Championship in the US being played this week.
Other Australians in the field are Wade Ormsby, Jason Scrivener, Brett Rumford, Marcus Fraser, Andrew Dodt, Sam Brazel and Nathan Holman.
LEE WESTWOOD REACHES EUROPEAN TOUR MILESTONE
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