As previously mentioned the position I am in this year has limited opportunities for starts on the European Senior Tour. This is because I finished outside the top 20 on the final 2016 Order of Merit (money list) and did not secure one of the 5 cards available at the 2017 Qualifying School.
So opportunities to play come from:
1. Applying for one of the three sponsor exemptions available in each tournament,
2. Tournaments with larger fields, (most events have 54-layers but some have 60-players).
So on Monday morning July 10th, the European Senior Tour advised me via email that I was first alternate for the German Senior Open, which has a 60-player field from July 14th – 16th.
I was already committed to playing in the PGA of Ontario Championship the Monday July 10th, Tuesday July 11th, and I decided to travel over. So I booked a flight for Tuesday evening out of Toronto with the hope to get into the field.
This is not the first time I have been first alternate into a tournament. Once I sat on the tee in Pensacola Florida in a Web.com tournament (Ben Hogan Tour at that time) and also I flew once to Mallorca Spain for a European Senior Tour tournament. In both those cases I did not get into the tournament.
Now virtual everyone who plays tour golf has been first alternate sometime and there are thousands of stories of players who were not feeling well or injured and still tee it up and play only a few holes or a single round before pulling out of the tournament. Of course this prevents the alternate from an opportunity to play.
Of course no player owes any other player an obligation to pull out. There are some players who have the professionalism to do the correct thing and pull out before teeing off.
I was very fortunate to get into the tournament on Friday morning when Mark Mouland withdrew due to a bad back. I thought he showed this professionalism as he could have tried to play but decided against that.
So I had the opportunity to play with professionals David Gilford (two time Ryder Cup member) for the first two rounds and then Gary Orr and Steven Dodd the final round.
My scores were 72, 70, 73 and finished T-25 which was a big improvement over my 51st place finish in 2016.
I really enjoyed working with my caddy Frank who was assigned to me at the last moment. We had a good time together and I hope we can work together again next year.
Now it is off to Wales for the Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl GC. First of all I will qualify at Southerndown GC on Monday July 24th.