Boasting a field of 264 players, the 2023 Senior PGA Professional Championship takes place across two courses, West Essex Golf Club and Romford Golf Club.
With a number of Legends Tour regulars in the field, including three-time DP World Tour winner and two-time Legends Tour winner, Andrew Oldcorn (Ratho Park Golf Club), as well as two-time DP World Tour winner and two-time Legends Tour winner, David Russell (Archerfield Links), there is an abundance of talent on site in Essex this week.
On day one, three-time Challenge Tour winner, Ireland’s David Higgins (Waterville Golf Links) returned 4-under-par in his first ever seniors event and he finds himself in second place, just one shot off the pace being set by Graeme Bell.
Higgins commented: “I got off to a good start with a couple of birdies and played nicely all day, so I was very happy with that. It’s a tight golf course so you have to be straight, which suits my game – it’s a good test of golf and I haven’t been playing a lot recently so I’m happy with the round and looking forward to the next couple of days.”
Higgins is joined by Rob Edwards (Romsey Golf Club) who carded an eagle on the 8th hole to take the local PGA Professional to a final score of 67 and also the 2021 Senior PGA Championship winner and last year’s runner-up, Liam Bond (TRS), who knows what it takes to score well around both courses and started this year’s tournament well.
“It was nice to get out there today on familiar ground and play OK – I felt like I was plodding along on the front 9, but then I hit it very close at 9 and made birdie to get me under par, then shot 3-under on the back 9, so I’m pleased with 4-under, it’s a good start,” said Bond.
“Obviously, we want to win this tournament but to get the added extra of qualifying for the PGA Seniors – it’s a massive event and a big prize fund – we all want to be there, so that would be nice,” he added.
Graeme Bell took an early lead at the 6,385 yard, par 71, West Essex Golf Club starting strong with a score of 5-under through 9 holes and managed to keep hold of the score on the back 9, finishing with a final score of 66 (5-under-par).
Bell explained that he has been playing well recently so was pleased with today’s round, but expects to find his second round at Romford Golf Club (6,312 yards, par 70) more difficult.
Damien Mooney (Lough Erne) is the nest best placed of the Irish in T16 on level par with Brendan McGovern (Headfort) and Robert Giles (Greenore) next best in T25 on one-over.
All players will play both courses over the first two days of the tournament, with the final round taking place at Romford Golf Club.
The top 15 players this week will all qualify for the 2023 Staysure PGA Seniors Championship, which takes place 23rd-27th August at Trump International Golf Links.
CLICK HERE to view a full leaderboard from day one of the 2023 Senior PGA Championship.
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