Five Irish add to record-setting Senior European Masters field

Bernie McGuire
Bernie McGuire

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Ireland’s Ryder Cup legends Paul McGinley, Des Smyth, Eamon Darcy, Phillip Walton and Ronan Rafferty will be among a record-equalling number of Ryder Cup stars contesting next weeks the Farmfoods European Senior Masters.

The five will be among 14 former Ryder Cup players who between them boast a remarkable 38 appearances and contest the event at the Forest of Arden.

One of the icons of The Ryder Cup, Torrance represented Europe eight times from 1981 to 1995. The Scotsman sank the winning putt at The Belfry in 1985, giving Europe victory, and he would go on to taste success in 1987, 1989 and 1995.

In 2002, he became the second European captain to sink the winning putt and captain a winning team at separate Ryder Cups, after Seve Ballesteros, when he oversaw Europe’s 15 ½ – 12 ½ victory.

Joining Torrance on eight Ryder Cup appearances is Woosnam, the 1991 Masters Tournament champion. The Welshman represented Europe from 1983 to 1997, winning The Ryder Cup four times and retaining once.

He formed a formidable partnership with Sir Nick Faldo from 1987 to 1991, winning six points from ten matches together. Woosnam also partnered Baker in 1993, and the pair defeated Fred Couples and Paul Azinger 6&5 – one of the largest margins of victory in Europe’s history.

McGinley made his Ryder Cup debut in 2002, the first of three appearances, and sank the decisive putt at The Belfry. After winning the coveted trophy in all three outings as a player, he went on to captain Europe at The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles where Europe retained with a 16 ½ – 11 ½ victory.

And one of McGinley’s vice-captains was Smyth, a veteran of two Ryder Cups.

McGinley had his first Seniors start of 2017 at the WINSTONgolf Senior Open, and Sandelin made his first appearance on American soil at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in May, going on to make his regular debut at the European Tour Properties Senior Classic.

Of the 14 players, Barry Lane is the most recent winner on the Senior Tour after his astonishing 22 under par total at the Willow Senior Golf Classic, at Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club.

Lane recorded the lowest ever round in Senior Tour history, a 12 under par round of 60 as he secured his sixth over-50s title, and the lowest ever 54-hole score to par.

And lets not forget the contribution Walton made in holing the winning putt in 1995 at Oak Hill while Rafferty made his only Ryder Cup showing in 1989.

Ryder Cup players at the Farmfoods European Senior Masters

Peter Baker: 1993

Gordon J Brand: 1983

Gordon Brand Jnr: 1987, 1989

Eamonn Darcy: 1975, 1977, 1981, 1987

David Gilford: 1991, 1995

Barry Lane: 1993

Paul McGinley: 2002, 2004, 2006, 2014 (captain)

Ronan Rafferty: 1989

Costantino Rocca: 1993, 1995, 1997

Jarmo Sandelin: 1999

Des Smyth: 1979, 1981

Sam Torrance: 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 2002 (captain)

Philip Walton: 1995

Ian Woosnam: 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2006 (captain)

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