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The Legends Tour continues its UK swing with a brand-new event that is being hosted by the 2010 BMW PGA Championship winner and features both of this season’s two-time winners, Peter Baker and Adilson da Silva.
“The reality set in on Monday when I drove in and saw the build,” says tournament host Khan. “I saw the driveway and the flags and thought ‘blimey, this is real’. The set-up is really great and the golf course has been set up fantastically. I’m delighted.”
Khan was inspired to take up golf as a 12-year-old after watching Seve Ballesteros win the Open Championship at St Andrews in 1984. He played golf for Essex before turning professional at the age of 18 and got his breakthrough on the DP World Tour by winning the 2004 Celtic Manor Wales Open. His biggest moment came when he became the first sponsor’s invitation to win the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May 2010.
“When I look back, I didn’t get my DP World Tour card until I was 29, and then winning within the first couple of years at Celtic Manor was a real highlight because it proves you can do it. I had some really good years and then winning at Wentworth was my biggest achievement.”
While Khan is the tournament host, he’s not the only player who feels at home at Hanbury Manor. Scotland’s Gary Orr has two Legends Tour runners-up finishes and a DP World Tour top-10 at the venue, and he’s hoping to continue that fine run this year.
“I’ve had some good finishes here and it’s always nice to come back to a place where you’ve had some good results,” says Orr. “Some places, the shape of the holes seem to suit you and you seem to be on good distances all the time and read the greens well, so I think it’s a combination of all those things.
“They’ve put in a couple of new tees, I think when the DP World Tour was here last time, but I’m hoping they’re not going to use them all this week. It’s a bit softer with all the rain we’ve had, but it’s playing well and the greens are good, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Peter Baker won last week at the JCB Championship to jump to number two in the MCB Road to Mauritius standings, just behind Senior Open champion Alex Cejka.
“It was great to win such a prestigious tournament on a really tough course,” says the Englishman. “It was really special to win against Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Darren Clarke. Most of my career they’ve well and truly beaten me so it’s nice to get one back.
“I’m delighted with my position in the MCB Road to Mauritius. Obviously you don’t expect that. I’d done a lot of work in the winter to hopefully have a better season, but you’re never quite sure. But you get a bit of confidence and it’s all snowballed into a couple of wins, which I’m delighted about.”
Baker remembers the course from playing it on the DP World Tour: “It’s a strong course. I think you’ve got to drive it well. You look at it and there’s a little bit of room off the tee, but the rough is quite thick and I think you’ve got to get it on the fairway to get at the pins.”
The course at Hanbury Manor was originally designed by Harry Vardon and it was sympathetically redesigned by Jack Nicklaus II in the 1990s. It hosted the DP World Tour in the late ‘90s with Per-Ulrik Johansson, Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke collecting victories. The main tour returned in 2020 with Andy Sullivan claiming the trophy. It’s also hosted the Legends Tour on four occasions from 2016-2019, with Gary Marks, Barry Lane, Peter Fowler and David Shacklady coming out on top. Lane shot a brilliant 60 when he won in 2017.
Visit www.legendstour.com to see the full list of tee times, keep up to date with the leaderboard and find out more about the Legends Tour Trophy hosted by Simon Khan at Hanbury Manor Marriot Hotel and Country Club.