Gary Murphy finished the opening day of the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship in Aberdeen as the lowest-scoring Irishman with a round of level par, five shots off the lead held by Simon Khan (-5).
Khan, after hosting the Legends Tour Trophy last week at Hanbury Manor, seems to have found the form he was looking for as he finishes the day with the outright lead, one stroke ahead of Robert Coles and Thomas Gögele.
Murphy began the day with a solid showing on the front nine, with an early birdie on the fourth cancelled out just before the turn with a bogey on the ninth, sending him into the back nine on level par.
The Kilkenny native began his back nine with a string of three consecutive pars but bogeys on the 14th and 15th made it seem likely that the Irishman would finish the day above par. However, back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th levelled Murphy’s scoring for the day and the Irishman entered the clubhouse just as he started, on even par.
David Higgins is the second-highest-placed scorer after his opening round of 76, giving him a share of 58th with a score of four-over-par. Higgins had a bright start to the day starting off one under through three holes, but this slightly hot start would be extinguished quickly.
A double bogey on his fifth hole of the day brought him above par, and he would not see level par again for the remainder of the day. Another bogey on the 16th – Higgins’ seventh hole of the day – sent the Irishman into the back nine on two-over-par.
A double bogey on the first hole of the back nine summed up the day for Higgins, and although he did birdie the sixth, a bogey on his final hole meant that the Cork native finished on four-over-par.
The other representative from Ireland was Damien Mooney, who on another day might have finished with a better score than the round of 78 he eventually finished with.
Mooney began the day brightly like many on the course today, with birdies on the second and fifth holes leaving the Belfast native on two-under-par through his first six holes. These birdies would be the only red scores on the day for Mooney unfortunately, as the Northern Irishman finished his front nine on level par as a result of bogeys on the seventh and ninth.
Mooney’s scorecard on the back nine would have looked a lot more palatable if not for a disastrous quadruple bogey on the 11th, dragging him away from Gary Murphy whom he was level with at the time. Consecutive black marks on the 14th and 15th capped off a disappointing day for the Lough Erne pro, as he sits tied for 76th in the overall standings.
Tomorrow’s action of Round 2 in Aberdeen gets underway at 7:30 a.m.