Golf: Torrance harks back to Hogan

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SAM TORRANCE, who begins his defence of the Honda Open in Hamburg today, has his eyes on a greater prize.

'I want to do a Ben Hogan in reverse,' he joked, saying that he wanted to win the US Open on his debut as Hogan did when he won the Open at his first and only attempt, at Carnoustie in 1953.

Torrance would be the first to admit that he is no Hogan. But he is excited that, at 40, he is getting the chance to compete in the most important of the three major championships played in the United States. 'Hogan won at Carnoustie when he was about my age and I'm going to give the US Open my best shot,' Torrance said.

But he intends to put the American tournament to the back of his mind as he attempts to win the Honda Open for the second year running. Torrance would have liked to have played in the United States this week to acclimatise himself to American conditions, but said: 'I felt it was my duty to defend the title here in Hamburg. It's the proper thing to do.'

Bernhard Langer, who won this event when it was first staged two years ago, is among the contenders, along with Colin Montgomerie and Ian Woosnam. Both Langer and Montgomerie will be trying to make amends for their poor finish at the Belgian Open.

'I gave the tournament away and it was one of the worst downs of my career,' Montgomerie said. 'But the better I get and the higher I go in the rankings the more these things are likely to happen, and I have to accept them.'

Unlike Torrance and Montgomerie, Laura Davies would not be bothered if she did not win another title this year. She will be in search of her fifth win of the season at the Evian Masters in France, but she said: 'It will still be a great year if I don't win again this season.'

Davies will face a tough challenge from seven other members of the European team who won the Solheim Cup in 1992 in one of the strongest fields of the year.