Seve the car park champ

  • Last Updated: July 16 2012, 14:30 BST

Royal Lytham always held a special place in the heart of Seve Ballesteros - it was the venue for the first and last of the great man's five major victories.

Seve celebrates his Lytham victory in 1979

And with the championship being staged at the famous Lancashire links again this time, it is impossible not to recall once more the career and life of Europe's most exciting golfer.

The first of Seve's two Open wins at Lytham came in 1979 when he was just 22.

Nobody younger had won for 86 years, but it hardly came as a surprise since he had finished joint runner-up three years earlier at Birkdale and had been the European Tour's number one throughout the time in between.

That year also witnessed one of the most famous shots in Open history - a shot which saw Ballesteros dubbed the "car park champion".

Two ahead with three holes to play, he drove into the BBC compound way right of the 16th fairway, but the Spanish maestro had already become known for his ability to escape from whatever trouble he put himself in and on this occasion it was not a bad place to be.

His second shot of less than 100 yards could be played into the wind, he hit it to 20 feet and when the birdie putt went in he had one hand on the Claret Jug.

Soon afterwards he could put the other on it and hold it aloft.

After two Masters victories Ballesteros denied Tom Watson a record-equalling sixth Open title at St Andrews in 1984 - his birdie putt on the final hole there was the high point of his career - and then came his return to Lytham in 1988.

With a round to go he trailed Nick Price by two.

But, with the finish played out on a Monday due to Saturday's play being washed out, Seve produced a dazzling 65 in his traditional navy blue and white to triumph by two.

Ballesteros is the only player to win two Opens on the course, but not the only European to lift the trophy there.

Tony Jacklin did it in 1969, beating Bob Charles - winner there in

1963 - to become the first British champion since Max Faulkner 18 years earlier.

Americans Bobby Jones, Tom Lehman and David Duval have also tasted success, as have South Africans Bobby Locke and Gary Player and Australian Peter Thomson.