Eales eyes place in US seniors major

Paul Eales
Paul Eales
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St Annes golfer Paul Eales will certainly be clocking up the air-miles in the run-up to Christmas.

He faces two long trips in his quest to achieve his avowed goal to earn a place in next year’s United Seniors PGA Championship.

To do that he needs high finishes in this week’s Fubon Senior Open, which takes place at the Miramar Golf and Country Club, Taipei, and the MCB Tour Championship, held at the Constance Belle Mare Plage, Poste de Flacq in Mauritius from December 13 to 15.

Eales qualified to play seniors golf earlier this summer when he passed his 50th birthday and he made a very good start to this latest phase of his career by claiming two third places.

This week will be a first for Eales, who has not played on the island of Taipei before.

He said: “I have played competitively since the Dutch Seniors Open in early October.

“I have been busy coaching with the England and North West squads, so I have only really been pottering about with my golf.

“But it is a serious commitment on my part to play in these two tournaments because I need to finish in the top 16 in the Order Of Merit.

“And if I can do that by doing well in these two events, then I will qualify to play in the US Seniors PGA.

A former European Tour regular and one-time winner, Eales agrees that playing on the seniors circuit has got his competitive juices flowing again.

He said: “I am not quite as driven as I was earlier in my career, but it is still there.

“It took me quite a while to get back into it because I struggled with my fitness after being out of serious action for so long.

“But once you have been competitive, you never really lose it.

“It is good to have the opportunity later in life to play at a competitive level, when you consider that in some sports your career can be over by your mid-30s.

“Golf is unique in that respect.”

The Taipei event commences on Friday and it is preceded by a pro-am.

n St Annes Old Links member John Murray has been the envy of many fellow golfers at his club.

He journeyed to the United States and got to play the famous Augusta National course, home of the Masters.

He got round in 92 and managed birdies on the 16th and 17th holes.

n Turkey is set to bid for the next available Ryder Cup in 2022 following the success of last week’s Turkish Airlines Open.

Turkey is also in contention to take over from Dubai as the venue for the European Tour’s season-ending event in 2016 (see right) and Ahmet Agaoglu, the president of the Turkish Golf Federation, views that as the stepping stone to staging the Ryder Cup.