Chapman targets title in champion’s absence
Roger Chapman will be keen to pick up where European Senior Tour rival Barry Lane left off at the Dark N' Stormy® World Par 3 Championship to commence at Turtle Hill Golf Club today.
The 2012 Senior PGA Championship and US Senior Open winner is making his debut in the 36-hole championship at the Fairmont Southampton layout, where he is competing for a share of the $50,000 purse as well as exemption to the PGA Tour Bermuda Championship.
“I'm looking forward to it,” the Englishman said. “This is the first time I've been to Bermuda and the first time I've played a par 3 tournament that's just consisted of par 3 holes.
“I've played on the Champions Tour in America. We had a combined tournament where you played 18 holes on a par 3 and 18 on a long course, so it's the first time I've ever played a par 3 tournament.”
The former European Tour and PGA Tour Champions player, who has amassed nearly $3 million in career earnings, warmed up for the event during a practise round at a windswept Turtle Hill Golf Club yesterday.
“It was a little windy, but I thoroughly enjoyed it,” he said.
The 60-year-old professional won the 2012 US Senior Open at the first attempt and is now hoping lightening strikes twice on his debut at the Dark N' Stormy® World Par 3 Championship.
“You never know,” he added.
Chapman is also bidding to become the second straight European Senior Tour player to win the event behind last year's winner Lane, who has not returned to defend his crown. Lane won by one shot over Miguel Angel Martinez, who also plays on the European Senior Tour.
“I would like to keep the streak going,” Chapman added. “I've known Barry for many, many years. He's a good ambassador for the game and it would be nice to follow in his footsteps.”
Chapman has been paired in a threesome for today's opening round that includes fellow debutant Megan Khang, the LPGA Tour player, who has represented the United States in the Solheim Cup at both junior and senior levels.
Khang is among a trio of ladies players making their debuts this year along with top US amateurs Shannon Johnson and Megan Buck.
Johnson is a past US Women's Mid-Amateur Championship and multiple New England Women's Amateur Championship winner while Buck finished third at last year's New England Women's Amateur Championship.
This year's 120-strong field also boasts two former winners in Canada's Ian Doig and Bermuda's Daniel Augustus.
Augustus is gunning for a third title, having won the 2010 and 2014 events when it was then known as the Bacardi National Par 3 Championship.
“Happy to be back home to have the opportunity to play a great par 3 course in some tough, windy conditions,” said Augustus, who has paired alongside past Goslings Invitational winner Billy Walsh of Canada.
“The course is in great condition, as it always is, and the field is big. It should be fun.”
The top 20 players will earn a share of $50,000 purse, with the winner pocketing $10,000 and earning exemption to October's PGA Tour Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course.
“We have a good field and we are excited to have the exemption spot for the Bermuda Championship in October,” Scott Roy, the tournament director and director of golf at Fairmont Southampton, said. “I think that's been a huge draw and will continue to be a huge draw.
“The atmosphere with our new sponsor and partnership with Goslings has been phenomenal.
“The players are all excited with it and a lot of them play in the Goslings Invitational so they know exactly how much fun a Gosling event can be and so we're happy to team up with them at Fairmont.”