For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Local golfer hopes for home comforts at English Senior Open
7:00am Thursday 3rd October 2013 in Sport
EXCITEMENT is building at Rockliffe Hall this week in anticipation of both the return of the English Senior Open to the European Tour as well as first class golf to the region.
Thousands are expected to descend on the Hurworth based golf course and hotel for a three-day weekend when some of golf's most celebrated names will be teeing off in the first round tomorrow after today's Pro-Am.
There are three golfers competing who may feel the spotlight shining upon them slightly more than usual though, as Rockliffe's very own Roger Roper, Eaglescliffe's Greame Bell and Matfen Hall's John Harrison are all representing the North-East.
Roper, who eased home a five-stroke win at the German Open on the lesser known Senior Golf Circuit in early September, is looking forward to featuring in such a prestigious event in his own back yard.
"It's a mixture of excitement and nerves but it should be a real fun week," said Roper. "I've been playing the Senior Open for the last couple of years against some pretty accomplished players.
"It's close to home and there's a lot of local expectation on my shoulders. Hopefully I'll play and score pretty much what I usually do and that will put me in a good position."
The 51-year-old admitted that despite the added pressure, knowing who is in the crowd cheering him on will keep him relaxed.
He said: "I know a lot of friends are coming to support me this week so that makes it a little bit easier I suppose thinking there are so many people rooting for you."
Roper has upped the ante in preparing for this weekend's event and even though the course set-up may be slightly different to what he's used to, he remains confident of putting in a good performance.
He said: "I've worked very hard on my game, I've prepared probably better than anybody here. I've won three events this year with sub-par scores and I quite often break par around here so hopefully I can do that.
"The course looks like it is going to be set up a little more difficult than usual, some of the pin positions could be a bit harder and some of the tees are going to be moved around a little bit.
"The greens are a bit faster and firmer than usual, so potentially it might play a little bit more difficult than normal but it's nothing I haven't seen before.
"I'm capable of shooting a score that's good enough to win, but I'm not used to winning tournaments at this level at the moment so it's probably just a bit of a learning curve for me, good experience.
"There are plenty of guys here that I know and I've played with often. I'll definitely be comfortable within the company that I'm playing and hopefully I can do myself justice with scoring."
Roper has welcomed such a recognised event to the area. He said: "Well it's overdue isn't it. We don't have many big tournaments in this area so hopefully the public will get behind and support the venue and support the event.
"It's new for the area and it's a good thing. It's only going to improve the profile of Rockliffe and hopefully more golfers will want to come and play here.
"It's a top class resort with great practice facilities, its an exciting place, it's the one you look forward to playing. It seems to be very well run, very well organised, the staff are generally pretty well trained, everything about it is first class."
Comments are closed on this article.