Slaley title defence for David J Russell

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DAVID J Russell is gearing up to defend his De Vere Club PGA Seniors Championship title at Slaley Hall, starting tomorrow.

Russell secured his maiden victory on the seniors tour a year ago, holding his nerve to finish two strokes clear of Angel Franco, Barry Lane and Chris Williams.

But he knows that Slaley Hall can be a difficult course – and is taking nothing for granted as he eyes a repeat of last year’s dramatic win.

“At Slaley Hall, there is a stretch of key holes that you have to play well – eight and nine being two of them – and I got to the position of being six clear when I came to them,” he said.

“On the eighth, you have to hit the ball where you can’t see it, around the corner, and I tried to play it sensibly where I could see it. Unfortunately, the wind got hold of it and I triple bogeyed, then double bogeyed the ninth and bogeyed the tenth.

“Suddenly I walked on to the 11th tee being one behind which was quite a shock after being six ahead. I handled it pretty well though and dug in and birdied the 11th and 12th which really put me back on the rails again. It was obviously destined to be my day. Looking back it is amazing that I managed to pull myself together and win by two shots.”

Ian Woosnam, Sam Torrance and Sandy Lyle are among the big names teeing off for the first round tomorrow. Admission is free via a downloaded ticket from www.devere.co.uk/our-locations/slaley-hall/golf/pga-seniors.html