Chapman gets the hang of it – after only 28 years

 

Better late than never, should be tattooed on Roger Chapman's bag. His record in the United States reads: played two, won two. Chapman is 53 years old. In 28 seasons on the European Tour, a career that extended over 618 events, Chapman won once. And in all that time he barely crossed the Atlantic to play golf. He wasn't good enough.

But in May this year he made it to the Senior PGA Championship in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Incredibly Chapman won, and then repeated the feat at the Senior US Open a month later, which not only took his earnings in America to a career-best £565,000, but also earned him his passage into a third tournament across the Atlantic, and quite an important one at that, the US PGA, which begins at Kiawah Island on Thursday.

If he fails to net the hat-trick he has another crack at it in the US Open at Merion next year.

Chapman's last appearance at a major championship ended in disqualification over a scorecard error in his second round at The Open at Muirfield a decade ago. His best finish at The Open was 12th at Birkdale back in 1991.

But his fondest memories go back to his debut at Turnberry as an 18-year-old amateur in 1977, best known for the "Duel in the sun" between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus.

"I'd come through qualifying at West Herts and then at Western Gailes in Ayrshire. I remember standing on the seventh tee looking out over the Ailsa course, gazing at the huge crowds and thinking, 'What on earth am I doing here?' I felt totally out of my depth." Chapman is grouped with double major winner Retief Goosen and Mark Brooks in the opening two rounds, starting with an afternoon tee time on Thursday. In the marque groups, world No 1 Luke Donald will start alongside this year's Open pace-setter Brandt Snedeker and Zach Johnson.

World No 2 Rory McIlroy is in with Dustin Johnson and the red-hot Jim Furyk, who blew the lead at the US Open on the last day.

World No 2 Lee Westwood has Angel Cabrera and Bill Haas for company. Tiger Woods, whose search for the form of old continues to fluctuate, is grouped with the previous two winners of the PGA, Keegan Bradley and Martin Kaymer. The latter is showing signs of a return to the dominance of two years ago, a run which propelled him to the top of the world rankings in February 2011. The season's three major winners, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els head out in the blue riband three ball.

All of the leading contenders were in action yesterday at the final WGC event of the year, the Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio. Jim Furyk topped the leaderboard going into day three on 11 under after following up his opening-round 63 with a four-under 66. Spain's Rafael Cabrera Bello was second on nine under.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living