Steve Alker has dominated in the US in 2022 – can he do the same in Scotland?
Eleven Australasians will take to the Gleneagles in Auchterarder in Scotland on Thursday, chasing one of senior golf’s finest trophies.
Steve Alker, Stuart Appleby, Michael Campbell, John Senden, Robert Allenby, Peter Fowler, Peter O’Malley, Richard Green, John Wade, Glenn Joyner and Andrew Welsford will represent our part of the world in the US$2.5 million event.
The Senior Open Championship has a history dating back to 1987 when England’s Neil Coles won the inaugural staging of the event at Turnberry in Scotland.
Since then, Australasians have won the title on only two occasions, Sir Bob Charles successful in 1989 and 1993 while, in 2001, the now late Ian Stanley defeated Charles in a playoff to win at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland.
In 2022, New Zealand’s Steve Alker will begin the event as the favourite amongst the Australasians and one of the favourites overall to take the title, given his outstanding season in 2022 where he leads the Charl Schwab standings on the PGA Tour Champions by some margin.
This will be the first Senior Open Championship for Alker but already in 2022 he has won a major and finished 3rd in another and seems to be in contention nearly every week.
Alker has experience in Britain having played there earlier in his career before focusing much of his attention in the USA where his career has been taken to a whole new level since joining the PGA Tour Champions nearly twelve months ago.
Michael Campbell is struggling in senior golf but amongst the group of eleven his regular tour career was outstanding winning the 2005 US Open, finishing 3rd at the 1995 Open Championship and winning eight events in total on the European Tour.
Appleby and Allenby had a stellar career on the PGA and Australasian Tours and Appleby has played reasonably well in a few events on the PGA Tour Champions although Allenby has battled at that level.
Interesting will be the return of Peter O’Malley to Gleneagles as it was at this venue in 1992 when he played the last five holes in a remarkable 7 under par to defeat a shell-shocked Colin Montgomerie. His game is well below that level now but he will enjoy fond memories of his great win in 1992.
Joyner, Wellsford and Wade are all in the field courtesy of recent Final Qualifying and get their chance to play in such a significant event.
Below Alker talks about the impact Sir Bob Charles had on his career.