Clarke & Mooney best of Irish as Jimenez rolls back the years at Senior Open

Ralph Casey

Miguel Angel Jimenez (Photo by Richard Martin-Roberts/Getty Images)

Defending Seniors Open champion Darren Clarke is chasing the lead at two over in Royal Porthcawl, but he’s well inside the cut in joint 35th overnight and he’s tied with Lough Erne’s Damian Mooney as the best of the Irish overnight.

Other Irish stories of the day feature Irish amateur qualifiers who made the grade, including two who won past Senior Cups with one club in the west, Galway GC, Joe Lyons and Eddie McCormack.

Joe shot a valiant seven over, our multiple winning major champion Padraig Harrington is only three better on four over, same as Cavan man McCormack.


Miguel Ángel Jiménez rolled back the years to post a five under par 66 to take the first round lead.

The Spaniard, who was crowned Senior Open champion at St Andrews in 2018, had to battle tough early conditions at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club, but carded just a single bogey to lead by two from Germany’s Alex Cejka and the United States’ Mario Tiziani, brother-in-law of seven-time Senior Major winner and former Ryder Cup Captain Steve Stricker.

The 21-time DP World Tour winner parred the first four holes before reeling off four birdies in five holes to make the turn at four under par. He began the back nine in the same vein before dropping his first shot of the day at the par four 14th, however immediately earned it back with a birdie at the following hole.

He ended his opening effort with a closing birdie at the par five 18th to cap off a fine start to his challenge for a second Senior Claret Jug.

A tough day on the South Wales links meant only 12 players carded rounds in the red figures, with India’s Jeev Milkha Singh and Fijian Vijay Singh sharing fourth place on two under par.

Jiménez said: “I played very solid, all parts of the game. Keys to the game, shots to the green and putting also, very nice. I played six under par. The last finished with a birdie on the last hole, hit beautiful drive and seven iron second shot. The par three, the only bad shot I hit is on number 14, my second shot with a four iron. I was rushing myself probably there, and I just pull it on the left and didn’t make up-and-down there. That’s the only bad thing.

“It’s a major. It’s my favourite major and playing in these conditions on this golf course, beautiful conditions.”

Full scoring HERE

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