Hendrik Buhrmann last won on the Sunshine Tour in 2005 in Swaziland, but he will be confident ahead of his first tournament as a senior when he starts in the Senior Open Championship at Royal Birkdale which starts on Thursday.
Buhrmann turned 50 on July 7, and he’s been working on his game diligently ahead of the day he could start to ply his trade in the senior ranks.
He took advantage of that work and his unquenchable enthusiasm for the game to qualify for the Senior Open when he carded a one-over-par 73 at Formby Golf Club, Merseyside yesterday to be one of 40 qualifiers for the senior major alongside some of golf’s most iconic names such as Tom Watson, debutant Colin Montgomerie and defending champion Fred Couples.
Also in the field are countrymen Chris Williams and David Frost, together with Zimbabwe’s Tony Johnstone, Mark McNulty who now plays out of Ireland and Phil Jonas who lives in Canada nowadays.
It will be a baptism of fire for Buhrmann, who has won four titles on the Sunshine Tour and one on the Asian Tour, and represented South Africa alongside Retief Goosen in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup.
But the highlight of his career came in 1995 when he holed the winning putt for South Africa in their victory over Australia in the inaugural Alfred Dunhill Challenge, then the southern hemisphere equivalent of the Ryder Cup. He now coaches a number of South African professionals while working on his own game.
And while he will be pleased to be playing in the Senior Open, he will also be taking some regrets into the tournament after he was unable to renew his acquaintance with Muirfield, the scene of his only appearance in a major championship.
He played alongside Craig Stadler on that final day in 1992, which culminated in Sir Nick Faldo lifting the Claret Jug for the third and final time. He caddied for James Kingston 10 years later when Muirfield returned to the rota, and stayed on to witness Ernie Els win his first Open championship.
But he’s now ready to embark on his debut European Senior Tour campaign after birdieing two of his last three holes at the Qualifying School Final en route to claiming the sixth and final full card.
With details from The European Tour