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Europe’s Senior Major Championship will return to Royal Porthcawl for the third time from July 27-30, 2023, and Senior Open Qualifying will take place at three Welsh venues on Monday July 24, with Firestone Country Club, Akron, Ohio, hosting a Qualifier on Monday July 10.
Southerndown Golf Club, Pyle and Kenfig Golf Club – both in Bridgend – and Machynys Peninsula’s Monk’s Island, in Llanelli, will all host aspiring over-50s players hoping to earn a spot in the prestigious Championship on the stunning Welsh links. Southerndown is situated on a unique and unusual limestone-heath, with the limestone outcrop rising over 70 metres from the sea and giving unparalleled views while allowing free drainage.
The base upon which Southerndown was built gave some of the world’s most renowned course designers a unique tableau to work from. Willie Fernie, Herbert Fowler, Willie Park, Harry Colt and Donald Steel all played their part in making Southerndown what it is today.
Pyle and Kenfig Golf Club’s lofty sand dunes form part of Porthcawl’s wonderful stretch of golf. Glorious views and historic associations adorn this undulating course with its natural hazard of hillocks, valleys and towering dunes. Unusually for a links course, Pyle and Kenfig is laid out in two loops of nine. The original front nine, designed by the renowned Harry Colt, heads slightly further inland, while P. Mackenzie Ross’ back nine returns out to the dunes and is a stiff test for any golfer, especially when the wind begins to swirl.
Monk’s Island is a Nicklaus-designed modern links course, which opened in 2005 and has already hosted an unprecedented 16 Championships, including four R&A events and four LET Championships of Europe. The course is routed in two distinct loops with a parkland front nine and an inward half that has more of a links feel beside the sea.
The United States’ Firestone Country Club will return as Qualifying host venue, on the Fazio Course, which was designed by Tom Fazio and opened in 2002. The links-inspired course will play host to Qualifying on Monday July 10, in the lead up to the Kaulig Companies Championship on the PGA TOUR Champions.
David Williams, Tournament Director of The Senior Open Presented by Rolex, said: “This year’s Championship returns to a true links course in Royal Porthcawl and we have selected four Qualifying Venues befitting of being associated with the event.
“Every single player who qualifies from Southerndown, Pyle and Kenfig or Machynys will have been thoroughly put through their paces by these outstanding venues and will have truly earned their spot in The Senior Open Presented by Rolex. We are also extremely grateful to our colleagues at the PGA TOUR Champions for again administering an event at Firestone Country Club.”
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at The R&A, said: “The quality of these three courses speak for themselves and we look forward to working with each of the venues to stage the qualifying events ahead of this year’s Championship.
“We and our partners at the European Tour group and Royal Porthcawl believe that they will provide a tough but fair challenge for the hopefuls aiming to earn a place in The Senior Open.”
The 2022 Senior Open Presented by Rolex, where Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke became only the fourth man to win both the Senior Major and The Open, saw almost 500 players attempt to qualify, with 48 earning a spot on the King’s Course at Gleneagles.
Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, said: “We look forward to welcoming The Senior Open back to Royal Porthcawl Golf Club in July and it is exciting to see the preparations for Wales’ next golfing major take shape. Wales has a wealth of fabulous golf courses and the qualifying stages held at these three venues will help highlight our quality golf offer.”
Entries for Senior Open Qualifying are not yet live and will open in due course