Ireland’s Brendan McGovern believes that having the correct mind-set is more important than the quality of one’s golf after taking a share of the lead after the first round of European Senior Tour Qualifying School Final Stage.
The 51 year old Headfort professional is well aware of what it takes to secure a Senior Tour card after finishing third at last year’s Final Stage, securing his playing rights for last season.
McGovern is one of 76 golfers playing for five cards for the 2017 Senior Tour season at Pestana Golf Resort, Portugal.
“It’s different from a normal tournament and you have to realise it’s 72 holes,” he said. “You can have a bad shot here and there, but there’s plenty of time to hit good shots.
“Attitude is more important than the golf at the moment.”
On returning to the Algarve, McGovern reached the turn at one under par, before carding four further gains over the back nine to sign for a five under par round of 66.
“There’s a long way to go. I played very well and I kept myself in there,” said McGovern.
“There were a couple of mistakes and I hit one poor tee shot on eight but, other than that, it was solid golf.
“I holed a good putt on the last for birdie, but the hole doesn’t suit the way I play. Some of the guys are driving it to within 30 yards of the hole. It leaves me struggling with my second shot but I holed a 25-footer, which I was so relieved about because it was still travelling.”
Sharing the lead after the first round is England’s Peter Wilson who picked up five birdies and an eagle en route to reaching the turn in 32. The 49 year old made a further gain on the fourth hole, his 13th, moving to six under, but dropped a shot on his last hole to finish the day on five under par.
“I’m feeling very happy after that,” said Wilson, who turns 50 in March. “I’ve been hitting the ball well for a while and got it going today. I was a bit disappointed with a few three-putts but I’m happy.
“I’m almost at 50 and Mike De Villiers, my coach at Modderfontein in South Africa, convinced me to give it a go.
“I’m believe I’m strong and I’ve got a good advantage if I hit it well off the tee. Come Thursday morning, if I’m in and around the top five I’ll be happy. I want to be in a position to get my card, but I could go out there and shoot 80 tomorrow.”
Tied for third place on three under par are English amateur Stephen Jensen and America’s Gary Rusnak, and a shot further back are the trio of Jon Bevan, Chris Hunsucker and Klas Tenmark.
After 54 holes, players within eight shots of fifth place will go forward to the final round, which will take place on Thursday. If more than one player is in fifth place, there will be a play-off to determine the winner of the fifth and final card.
Scores after round one:
66 P Wilson (Eng) , B McGovern (Irl) ,
68 G Rusnak (USA) , S Jensen (am) (Eng) ,
69 C Hunsucker (USA) , K Tenmark (Swe) , J Bevan (Eng) ,
70 J Hall (Eng) , J Steenkamer (Ned) , D Shacklady (Eng) , C Dennis (USA) , D Wettlaufer (Can) ,
71 N Sweet (Eng) , M Davis (Eng) , M Molina (Arg) , J Carter (USA) , B Conser (USA) , M Wharton (Eng) , T Spence (Eng) , J Kula (Fra) , P Scarrett (am) (Eng) ,
72 J Romero (Esp) , Y Nilsson (Swe) , P Streeter (Eng) , G Joyner (Aus) , A Fernandez (Chi) , F Grosset-Grange (Fra) , J Buendia (Esp) , S McNally (Eng) , G Ryall (Eng) , J Sallat (Fra) , D Narveson (USA) , K Tarling (Can) ,
73 D Westermark (Swe) , J Carriles (Esp) , F Mann (Sco) , G Wall (Aus) , S Bennett (Eng) , T Giles (Eng) , C Swart (RSA) , M Wiggett (Eng) ,
74 R Sabarros (Fra) , J Cheetham (Eng) , M Kierstenson (Eng) , W Grant (Eng) , J Berendt (Arg) , P Sheehan (am) (Irl) , M Haddock (am) (Eng) ,
75 R Scheffer (Ned) , B White (Eng) , M Booth (Eng) , A Sherborne (Eng) , S Puzey (USA) , T Elliott (Aus) ,
76 N Mitchell (Eng) , M Pyatt (Eng) , S Cipa (Eng) , J Quiros (Esp) , C Baron (Eng) , S Hamill (Nir) , G Banister (Aus) , T Persson (am) (Swe) , B Smith (am) (Eng) , J Binch (am) (Eng) ,
77 P Affleck (Wal) , M Spooner (Eng) , W Bladon (Eng) , K Hutton (Sco) , M Reynard (Eng) ,
78 D Shaw (USA) ,
79 M Nichols (Eng) , M Macara (Wal) ,
80 A Franco (Par) , G Harris (Eng) ,
81 M Gallagher (Eng) ,
** R Gonzalez (Arg)