American golfers finished 1st and 2nd at the 135th Open Championship at Hoylake last weekend, and it seems that fans are in for more of the same at this week’s Aberdeen Asset Management British Seniors Open at Turnberry, which is one of the five Major championships for senior golfers.
Americans Loren Roberts, Peter Jacobsen and Craig Stadler all fired impressive rounds of 65 to put them a shot clear at the top of the leaderboard at -5, and a further four senior golfers from the USA finished within two shots of the clubhouse lead after the first round.
Ireland’s Des Smyth (pictured) was the top performing European after a round of 66, and he will be hoping to go one better than last year. In 2005 he lost in a dramatic sudden-death playoff to the USA’s Tom Watson at Royal Aberdeen.
Watson, who was returning to the scene of one of his most famous Open victories in 1977, suffered in his opening round and struggled to a three over-par score of 73. His poor start left him in a tie for 82nd place, and he will need to improve considerably today to ensure he makes the halfway cut – something he achieved in the Open proper at Royal Liverpool last week.
US Champions Tour Money List leader Jay Haas also performed below his best, carding a 72 to finish at +2. Scotland’s Sam Torrance, the leader of the European Seniors Order of Merit, mirrored Watson with a disappointing 73, but popular Englishman Mark James positioned himself among the leaders with a solid round of 67 – just two strokes off the early pace.