NEWPORT’S Phillip Price believes he has a genuine chance of lifting the trophy as The Senior Open returns to Royal Porthcawl Golf Club this summer.

The 2002 Ryder Cup winner turned 50 last October, allowing him to compete on the senior tour, and he cannot wait to tackle his first Senior Open in July.

Price enjoyed three wins on the European Tour and his best ever finish at The Open was tied for 10th in 2003 – the year after he beat Phil Mickelson to help Europe win the Ryder Cup.

But, after three years out of the spotlight, he’s convinced he can compete for the top prizes amongst the sport’s veterans – starting just along the coast in Porthcawl.

“I lost my full playing rights three years ago,” said Price at the official launch of this year’s Senior Open Championship.

“I enjoyed the last three years because I could spend a lot of time at home with the family.

“But golf is what I’ve always done and when I got to 50 it felt like starting work again.

“I can’t wait for the next few years and this is the perfect start for me,” he added.

“It will be my first Senior Open and I couldn’t have picked a better one.

“We come to Porthcawl in the winter half a dozen times to play with friends so I know the course really well.”

Price hopes home advantage will give him the edge in the summer.

“I think knowing the course doesn’t give me an advantage as such but I think home comforts are going to be an advantage,” he said.

“Staying at home and having a lot of friendly faces around is going to make me enjoy the week a little bit more.

“I’ve played at the Celtic Manor in the Wales Open and I don’t feel pressured by it.

“Sometimes there’s a little too much fuss but I don’t think that will happen here.

“I’ll have support and hopefully I can benefit from that.”

The 2003 European Open winner knows, however, that he’ll have to be at his best to compete for the Claret Jug.

“I won the Q School [in America in December] and I was fourth in Mauritius, which was steady, and having that little run of form has probably made me think that if I can get it together I can still play,” he said.

“I’ll need to play better than I am right now but I probably do have a chance [in Porthcawl].

“The course suits me and I can play well enough.

“I’m going to have to be at the top of my game to win it though with the likes of Bernhard Langer and Miguel Ángel Jiménez playing.

“But I think the course gives me optimism because it suits the game that I have.

“I’ve played it in all conditions and it’s not a long-hitter’s course, you’ve just got to be a good player.”

The 2017 Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex takes place at Royal Porthcawl from July 27 to July 30.