Paul McGinley is best placed of the Irish players after round one at the Farmfoods Senior Masters after a day of testing conditions at Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club.
McGinley is sitting in a share of third place alongside Peter Fowler and Miguel Angel Martin on two under par, four shots off the pace set by Order of Merit leader Clark Dennis.
Ireland’s other representatives didn’t fare too well with Brendan McGovern, Philip Walton and Des Smyth all shooting 74 (+2) to lie well down the field and Ronan Rafferty was one shot further back after a 75. Eamonn Darcy returned a 76 to sit ten shots adrift.
Tournament leader Dennis, will take a commanding three shot lead into the weekend and the American, who joined the Senior Tour earlier this year after earning his card at Qualifying School, is a two-time winner in 2017 and knows that victory at Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club will secure the John Jacobs Trophy for topping the Order of Merit.
The 51 year olds’ six under par round of 66, included seven birdies and an eagle, cancelling out three bogeys and he said, “I’m very pleased with the way I played today. I hit the ball nicely, made some putts and had a couple of good breaks; I holed one out from the fairway too and that always helps. Six under was a little more than I would have expected.”
“I didn’t see myself shooting six under today, but I was able to get out there and put together a good score. Conditions will be difficult again tomorrow, so it’ll be a battle out there. I just need to go out there and play my game.”
In second place on three under par is Paul Eales, winner of the 2016 Scottish Senior Open. The Englishman carded four birdies and, despite a bogey on the 18th hole, the 54 year old was pleased with his round.
“The conditions were trying today, but it was a good day,” said Eales. “I didn’t make as many mistakes as I have been doing. I almost got away with it if not for the last hole.”
Scores after round one:
66 C Dennis (USA) ,
69 P Eales (Eng) ,
70 P Fowler (Aus) , P McGinley (Irl) , M Martin (Esp) ,
71 S Dodd (Wal) , A Sherborne (Eng) , P Baker (Eng) ,
72 R Chapman (Eng) , T Thelen (USA) , P Golding (Eng) , J Carriles (Esp) , S Brown (Eng) , J Sandelin (Swe) , G Brand Jnr (Sco),
73 B Conser (USA) , A Oldcorn (Sco) , G Marks (Eng) , R Drummond (Sco) , G Wolstenholme (Eng) , C Monasterio (Arg) , J Kingston (RSA) , M Farry (Fra) , A Bossert (Sui) ,
74 P Linhart (Esp) , C Mason (Eng) , M Mouland (Wal) , D Smyth (Irl) , I Woosnam (Wal) , B McGovern (Irl) , P Walton (Irl) , J Sallat (Fra) , S Richardson (Eng) ,
75 R Rafferty (Nir) , C Williams (RSA) , G Rusnak (USA) ,
76 G Brand (Eng) , P Wilson (Eng) , S Luna (Esp) , S Tinning (Den) , S Torrance (Sco) , E Darcy (Irl) ,
77 P Wesselingh (Eng) , B Lane (Eng) , C Suneson (Esp) , M Mackenzie (Eng) ,
78 C Rocca (Ita) , J Robinson (Eng) , M Atlevi (Swe) ,
79 G Emerson (Eng) , D Gilford (Eng) ,
80 D Russell (Eng) ,
81 A Franco (Par) ,
82 S McAllister (Sco)