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Golf: Spurgeon admits players riled by Lehman invitation
DORSET star Kevin Spurgeon is looking forward to locking horns with Tom Lehman in Mauritius.
But he admits the former Ryder Cup captain’s invitation had been a “sore point” with some European players.
The 53-year-old 2006 American skipper returns to defend his MCB Tour Championship title in the European Senior Tour’s final tournament which starts on Friday.
Spurgeon, meanwhile, has also tasted success on the Legend Course at Constance Belle Mare Plage, winning the Mauritius Open in 2010.
“Tom is bound to be there or thereabouts once again,” said Spurgeon. “Although his position won’t affect the final order of merit places, he is capable of taking a large amount of the prize fund.”
Lehman, a seven-time winner on the US-equivalent Champions Tour, was a sponsors’ invite in 2011 and is not included on the European money list.
The 1996 Open champion arrives in fine form after topping the American money list for the second successive season and has already earned more than five million dollars in three years on the US Senior circuit.
Asked by the Daily Echo, whether or not Lehman’s invitation was fair on the rest of the European Senior Tour players who need the money to improve their final ranking, Spurgeon responded: “It’s a sore point with some players, but I can’t get too worked up about it.
“I just want to play golf and do the best I can.”
Spurgeon, meanwhile, has high hopes of his own, despite an average performance in Asia last month which saw him win 1,213 euros, boosting his year’s winnings to 43,694 euros.
The 57-year-old Ferndown touring professional is currently 34th in the rankings after playing in 13 events this year.
“I’m only a couple of thousand euros outside the top 30, so that’s got to be the goal this weekend,” added Spurgeon.
“I just about broke even in Taiwan, and probably won’t bother to go back again next time. It’s a long way to travel for little reward.
“My game is in good shape, but I’m only just fully recovering from the treatment I’ve |been receiving for two fractured ribs.
“I’m 8,000 euros ahead of the 40th-placed player, so my card is pretty safe, but I’d like to make sure I play in the British Open next year.”
The top 40 players maintain their playing privileges for 2013, while the top 30 get automatic qualification for next year’s prestigious Senior Open at Royal Birkdale.