Power Rankings: Senior British Open

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Editor's note: Vartan Kupelian is the Champions Tour Insider and a PGATOUR.COM Contributor. Each week, Kupelian will size up the field and provide his top 5 players going into the tournament, based on factors such as the player's strengths, the course setup, recent performances, etc.

Fred Couples will defend his title at the Senior British Open this week at Royal Birkdale Golf Club.

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The Senior British Open, presented by Rolex, became an official Champions Tour event in 2003. Royal Birkdale, host to the Senior British for the first time, will be the 11th different championship venue in the 27-year history of the Senior British Open.

Royal Birkdale, in Southport, Merseyside, England, plays to par 70 over 7,082 yards.

Couples tied for third in the 1991 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, three shots behind champion Ian Baker Finch. That’s the best Open Championship finish for Couples, who matched it in 2005 on the Old Course at St. Andrews.

Mark O’Meara won the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale in 1998. In 1987, O’Meara won the Lawrence Batley International event on the same course.

This week’s Power Rankings for the Champions Tour’s Senior British Open Championship:

Power Rankings: Senior British Open
Rank Player   Comment
Fred COUPLES Fred COUPLES The defending champion played better every day at Muirfield, closing with a 71 to finish T32. His 293 total was the best among the five Champions Tour players who made the cut at the British Open. Couples is No. 1 on the Champions Tour with a 68.00 Scoring Average.
Mark O'MEARA Mark O'MEARA Coming off an excellent performance at Muirfield, where he opened with 67 and eventually finished T53. O’Meara won his Claret Jug in 1998 at Royal Birkdale, so he’ll have a warm, fuzzy feeling this week. He’s No. 6 in the All-Around statistical category.
Tom LEHMAN Tom LEHMAN Made the cut at Muirfield and finished T58, the same as O’Meara. Lehman is looking for an eighth Champions Tour victory and fourth senior major. Tied for 10th last year in the Senior Open at Turnberry and T11 in 2010 at Carnoustie. No. 1 in Greens in Regulation and All-Total Driving on the Champions Tour.
Tom WATSON Tom WATSON Why not? A five-time winner of the Claret Jug, he’s royalty on those shores. Watson has won the Senior British three times and made the cut in all 10 Senior British Opens, never finishing worse than T24. At Royal Birkdale, Watson will try to win the Senior British Open for the third time on a course where he previously won a Claret Jug.
Duffy WALDORF Duffy WALDORF Can’t overlook his performance in senior majors this year. He’s 4-for-4 in top 10s – T6 at the Senior PGA Championship, T5 at Regions Tradition, T2 at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS and T9 at the U.S. Senior Open. He’s got 5 top 10s in last six starts.
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