Roger Chapman doesn’t play much golf in the United States these days, but he’s always welcome at two tournaments that bring back great memories for him.
Chapman, who is from England, won the 2012 Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores and went on to win the U.S. Senior Open that same year, also held in Michigan. The wins secured him lifetime exemptions at those two senior majors, and he’s taking advantage for this weekend’s U.S. Senior Open at the Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame.
“It was probably the greatest thing I’ve ever done in golf,” Chapman said. “Can’t believe it’s seven years ago. Time flies. Two majors on your resume, I’m very happy with that.”
Chapman shot an even-par 70 in Thursday’s opening round, rallying to overcome a poor start.
He bogeyed the second and third holes, but then made eight straight pars before birdies on No. 12 and No. 13 brought him back to even. Another birdie on 17 put him under par for the first time, but “the first fairway I missed all day” on No. 18 led to a bogey and an even-par round.
“It wasn’t a great start,” Chapman said. “Seventy, after the start, yeah I would’ve taken it.”
Chapman was able to use exemptions from his big victories to stay active on the PGA Tour Champions for several years, but this weekend’s tournament is his third and final American event this season, following the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf and the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
He now plays most of his golf on the Staysure Tour, Europe’s senior tour. He won the 2018 MCB Tour Championship-Seychelles in December for his first victory since the 2012 U.S. Senior Open.
Chapman has mixed feelings about his new schedule.
“It’s nice to sort of go on a Wednesday and come home Sunday instead of traipsing around America with four suitcases and a set of golf clubs for three months at a time,” he said. “But I miss all the guys over here. My wife’s not here this week, but she misses all the ladies. We made some great friends here.”
Chapman also made friends at the Grande Mere Inn in Stevensville, where he superstitiously dined every night while winning the 2012 Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores. He’s hoping to visit again this weekend.
“We might sneak up there one day,” Chapman said.
Contact: bsanders@TheHP.com, 429-1294, @HPBenSanders