Paul Broadhurst, the last home winner of The Senior Open Presented by Rolex, will return to St Andrews, the Home of Golf, in July, hoping that a life-long love affair with the iconic Old Course can deliver the ultimate prize for a second time in three years.
The 52-year-old Englishman, who claimed The Senior Open for a first time at Carnoustie in 2016, has been spellbound by the Old Course since his teenage years when he and a number of friends from the Midlands would travel to Fife for golfing holidays.
Broadhurst’s first competitive encounter with the Old Course as a fledgling professional reached a thrilling peak in 1990 when he shot a then record 63 in the third round of The Open at St Andrews on his way to finishing 12th.
Now, 28 years later, the former champion is relishing this return to the game’s spiritual home. He admitted: “I loved the Old Course the first time I played it as a youngster and nothing has changed. Everything about the experience is very special – the history, the atmosphere, the town, the sense of tradition.
“I used to trawl through the local golf shops buying bag tags, towels and all sorts of memorabilia related to St Andrews. It’s my favourite place to play golf.”
Broadhurst has succeeded at Carnoustie and Pebble Beach as a senior golfer, and St Andrews would provide the perfect backdrop for a remarkable hat-trick.
Nostalgic at St Andrews
He added: “Scotland has been good to me. I’ve won the Scottish Senior Open twice in the past three years and, of course, The Senior Open in 2016. However, there is a huge feeling of nostalgia about this year’s championship. Many of the greats from America will be in attendance and that will create a great atmosphere and a tremendous chance for the spectators to see some proper legends.”
A recent winner on the PGA Tour Champions, when he and American Kirk Triplett won the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf pairs event, Broadhurst is hoping that he can complete the 72-holes from July 26-29 without the same trials and tribulations he faced during The Open in 1990.
He recalled: “I was in the town centre after making the cut on the Friday night and entered a red public phone box to call The R&A for my tee time on Saturday. There were no mobile phones in those days. The door was a heavy, spring-loaded affair and it sprung back and caught me above the left eye.
“I suffered a cut and had a huge lump on my forehead and a black eye. I was third off in the morning with David Graham of Australia and had a sticking plaster above my eye. I didn’t start out with any great expectations.
“However, I went out in 29 and came home in 34 for a 63 which moved me right up the leader board. From having a few family and friends watching, I picked up a gallery of about 3000 by the time I reached the 17th. I birdied the last for what remains the best round of golf I’ve ever played.”
Bernhard Langer of Germany will defend his title in a world class field including Tom Watson, Sir Nick Faldo, John Daly, Colin Montgomerie, Ian Woosnam, Sam Torrance and Paul McGinley.
Under-16s and parking are free.
Tickets, starting at £13.50 per day, are available now on: st.golf/SeniorOpen18Tickets