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Torrance to make Champions Tour debut

Sporting his trademark mustache, a man carrying decades of European golf wizardry will make his Champions Tour debut on American soil at the Constellation Energy Classic.

Sam Torrance, the man who captained Europe to a stunning Ryder Cup victory at the Belfry, tees it up against the best the Champions Tour has to offer this weekend.

Torrance is only two weeks into championship golf designed for champions over age 50. He tied for 15th two weeks ago in the European Seniors Tour Scottish Seniors Open.

But still, Torrance is a giant in world golf. He has 21 European Tour titles on an extraordinary resume, and almost as many historic Ryder Cup moments, both as a player and captain.

"It's great," Torrance said after his pro-am round on Wednesday. "It's going to be a new challenge for me. It's like the start of a new career. I'm really excited to be making my debut on the Champions Tour this week."

It's not like Torrance has scouted the Champions Tour competition with his fellow Europeans. He knows the games of most of the American players on the Champions Tour, from years of international competition and major European events, like the British Open.

"I really haven't (talked to any of the Europeans). It will be new for me," he said. "It's nice to see a lot of my old friends again. I played against a lot of these guys over the years, so I look forward to this."

He'll come into the Constellation Energy Classic to face a field still vying not only for Champions Tour Player of the Year, but for the prestigious Charles Schwab Cup title. The defending champion in Baltimore is J.C. Snead, who holed a 12-footer for par on the final hole to earn his first title in seven years.

Snead, whose last victory was the 1995 Senior Players Championship, became the oldest tournament winner on the Champions Tour at 61 years, eight months and nine days. He fired a course-record 64 to move into a tie with Rodger Davis with one round remaining and ended up with a one-shot win over Bobby Wadkins, John Mahaffey and Doug Tewell.

Torrance will also have to keep his eye on Bruce Fleisher.

Fleischer may have never won here, but in four appearances, he has recorded 12 consecutive sub-par rounds and also won more money in this event than any other player with $351,560.

"Golf is golf. I was impressed with the course here. The course in terrific shape. The greens were a lot quicker than I thought they'd be," Torrance said.

The purse was increased by $50,000 from last year. The Golf Channel has the broadcast for all three rounds. The Champions Tour moves to North Carolina next week for the SAS Championship, where Bruce Lietzke is the defending champion.


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