Four of Great Britain and Ireland’s finest golf courses have been confirmed as qualifying venues for The Senior Open presented by Rolex in 2019.
Fairhaven, Hillside, Southport & Ainsdale and St Annes Old Links will host an 18-hole qualifying round on Monday 22 July. A record 591 players entered the qualifying events for The Senior Open in 2018 and it is anticipated that similar numbers will attempt to earn a place in the starting field at Royal Lytham & St Annes next year.
Royal Lytham & St Annes will host The Senior Open for the first time in 25 years when the Championship returns there from 25-28 July 2019.
First staged in 1987, the 33rd edition of The Senior Open will be held over the acclaimed Lancashire links for the fifth time in its history. It was last played there in 1994 when Tom Wargo of the United Stated lifted the title. John Fourie, Bobby Verwey and Sir Bob Charles have also won The Senior Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Popular Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiménez will return as defending champion after defeating three-time winner Bernhard Langer by one stroke over the Old Course at St Andrews. Tom Lehman, who won The Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1996, will also be one of the contenders in 2019.
Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke, who turned 50 on August 14, 2018, and fellow Major Champions Michael Campbell, Paul Lawrie, Shaun Micheel and Retief Goosen will be also eligible to make their Senior Open debuts in 2019.
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director - Championships at The R&A, said: “We have chosen four outstanding venues to stage qualifying events for The Senior Open next year and they will provide a tough but fair challenges for the hundreds of golfers aiming to earn a place in the starting field at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
“We are very much looking forward to bringing The Senior Open back to the famous Lancashire links for the first time in 25 years and the qualifying events will be an exciting prelude in the week leading up to the Championship.”
Founded in 1905, Fairhaven has staged qualifying events for The Open and the Women’s British Open. It has also staged a number of prestigious amateur tournaments at all levels.
Hillside holds the distinction of hosting the Piccadilly Medal – the first professional tournament in which Jack Nicklaus played in Great Britain – in 1962 and again ten years later. It has staged Final Qualifying for The Open on many occasions as well as qualifying for The Senior Open in 2013. Other notable events to be played at Hillside include The Amateur Championship (twice), the Ladies British Open Amateur (twice) and the PGA Cup in 1975.
Southport & Ainsdale can boast an impressive roll of honour down the years. Founded in 1906, it hosted the 1933 and 1937 Ryder Cups. It has staged Final Qualifying for The Open 11 times and The Senior Open once previously in 2013. The Boys Amateur Championship and the Seniors Amateur Championship have also been contested over the course.
St Annes Old Links has staged numerous qualifying competitions for amateur and professional events down the decades, including Final Qualifying for The Amateur Championship in 2007; local Final Qualifying for The Open in 2012; the English Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championship in 2015 and the Boys Home Internationals in August 2017. St Annes Old Links made history this summer by hosting Final Qualifying for The Open and also the RICOH Women’s British Open.
Royal Lytham & St Annes is just one of the world-famous links courses on The Open rota to host Europe’s Senior Major. The others are the Old Course at St Andrews, Turnberry, Royal Birkdale, Royal Portrush, Muirfield, Royal Troon and Carnoustie.
Ticket registration for the 2019 Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex will be available soon along with various hospitality options.