‘Battle of Brookline’ Ryder Cup captain Mark James at Stoke-by-Nayland Golf Club for PGA Seniors Championship

Mark James

Mark James - Credit: Getty Images

Mark James is confident fans will be surprised at the high standard of golf on show at Stoke-by-Nayland over the next four days.

Yorkshireman James, 60, is one of the star names who will be battling it out for a prize purse of £235,000 as the PGA Seniors Championship returns to Stoke-by-Nayland Golf Club – starting today.

“There are some top players out there and it is a good competition,” said the former European Ryder Cup captain and multiple European Tour winner.

“Most people will be surprised at the standard,

“I’ve never played Stoke-by-Nayland myself, but I’ve heard it’s a lovely course and I’m looking forward to it.”

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James is back in Europe for a fourth consecutive year after spending seven years in the States. Before the Seniors Tour, he won 18 times on the European Tour and was tied third at the Open in 1981.

“Playing in the States gave me a whole new lease of life,” added James, who was Ryder Cup captain at the infamous ‘Battle of Brookline’ in 1999.

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“To be honest I’m hoping to play much better than last year which wasn’t good.

“The Seniors Tour is different from main Tour events, kids can talk to the players and at the end of the round players are not rushing off to practice.”

James has represented Great Britain & Ireland or Europe in the Ryder Cup seven times including in 1989 when Europe tied the match and retained the cup they had won in 1987, and in 1995 when they won it outright.

Other top names at Stoke-by-Nayland include Barry Lane, Carl Mason, Jose Rivero, Philip Walton, Paul Way, Des Smyth – this year’s Ryder Cup vice-captain – and Eamonn Darcy.

Midland ace and current holder of the crown, Paul Wesselingh, is back to defend his title.

He has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the senior ranks since gaining his European Senior Tour card, winning the PGA Seniors in just his fourth start.

The Seniors returns to Stoke-by-Nayland for a third time having previously hosted it in 2006 and 2007 when Sam Torrance and Carl Mason won respectively.

The tournament starts today and finishes on Sunday.

Golf stories? Contact Mike Bacon

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