Senior golf’s two most successful players from the past 12 months are set to battle it out for the first time in a non-major event on the over-50s tour, with Steven Alker and James Kingston set to meet at the 2023 JCB Championship.
Returning to the popular JCB Golf & Country Club in Staffordshire between August 3-5 following a hugely successful event last year, the 2023 JCB Championship will see 2011 Open champion Darren Clarke return as tournament host as some of golf’s biggest names battle it out for victory.
South African James Kingston – who received the John Jacobs Trophy after securing the Legends Tour Order of Merit title last season following an impressive campaign which saw him claim his second Legends Tour title at the Swiss Senior Masters and an incredible nine top-10 finishes – will tee it up at the venue where he holds a course record 10-under par 62.
Kingston will be joined in the field by 2022 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship winner Steven Alker. The New Zealander – who failed to register a victory during his time on the regular DP World Tour and PGA Tour – has made an incredible start to his senior career since turning 50 in July 2021. His major win and consistency on last year’s Champions Tour also saw him awarded the season-long Charles Schwab Cup, along with the million-dollar prize.
The event in Staffordshire is now only 100 days away, where Kingston and Alker will be joined by a whole host of golfing greats, including enigmatic American John Daly, 2003 US Open winner and 2018 US Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk and two-time US Open winner Retief Goosen.
Record eight-time DP World Tour Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie will also be in attendance, as will defending champion Alex Cejka, who saw off the challenge of Paul McGinley to win by two shots in 2022.
General tickets are now on sale, with day tickets priced at £15 for an adult and £5 for youth tickets (13-17). Those 12 and under will receive free admission, while season passes (£45 adult, £10 youth) are also available. An early booking discount of 25 per cent is in place until April 30, with priority parking available for £5 a day.
Phil Harrison, chief executive of the Legends Tour, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming both Steven Alker and James Kingston along to the JCB Championship in August, as well as many other legendary names from the world of golf for what promises to be a great week on the Legends Tour.
“With the likes of Jon Daly, Ernie Els and Jim Furyk all taking part we are expecting large crowds once again, so would encourage anyone thinking of attending to make the most of the early ticket offer to not be left disappointed.”
The brainchild of JCB chairman Lord Bamford, The JCB Golf & Country Club has quickly established itself as a must-play course since opening in 2018. At 7,500 yards from the back tees, the layout offers a stern challenge for even the best ball-strikers and has been designed and constructed to the highest specification.
Spanning 240 acres of rolling countryside, the venue has been hailed as a masterpiece in contemporary course design and has an array of aesthetically appealing tee shots, a combination of both wide and narrow fairways, and interesting and complex greens.
The course has several notable holes, including the signature par-3 17th. At 255 yards, players are faced with an intimidating downhill tee shot to an island green. With trees to the left and a large sand trap positioned front-right, any wayward shots are punished and will leave you scrambling to make par.
The upcoming Legends Tour season promises to be the biggest since its rebranding in 2020, with larger fields, record-breaking prize funds and new venues hosting major events.
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