Terrific Tom bounces back
Tom Watson bounced back from his Open play-off heartache with an opening-round 67 at The Senior Open Championship.
Tom Watson bounced back from his Open Championship play-off heartache with an opening-round 67 on Thursday at The Senior Open Championship.
The 59-year-old American, who came agonisingly close to becoming the oldest major winner in history before missing out to Stewart Cink, insisted it was not difficult to put that disappointment behind him after his three-under-par round at Sunningdale.
“That was a big story last week for me,” said Watson, who is looking to win this title for the fourth time.
“But here it’s a different story this week. I’ve got to write it – let’s get on with it.”
Watson showed no sign of the putting nerves that appeared to get the better of him on the final hole at Turnberry over the opening holes today, draining birdie putts on the first, fourth and fifth holes.
At the par-three 13th Watson missed a birdie effort from eight feet – the same distance as his missed putt at the last in Scotland which would have given him a sixth Open title.
“I’m not very good at eight-footers right now,” he joked.
On the 18th his birdie effort lipped out to leave Watson three shots behind compatriot Fred Funk, who posted the lowest opening round in a Senior Open Championship with a 64.
“It was a good start,” said Watson. “I played well, I made some good early putts and missed some makeable putts in the middle of the round.
“I played a good round of golf, kept the ball in play off the tee, which is critical here. I’m obviously happy with a 67 starting out – it was a good score.”
Funk was only one under par at the turn thanks to a birdie at the par-five opening hole, but the 53-year-old burst into life on the back nine with five birdies, including one at 17 where he chipped in from a bunker.
“The front nine I got out of position numerous times and made some great par putts,” said Funk.
“And then I made an unexpected birdie at 11 and started hitting it close from there. Any time you do what I did on 17, it’s pretty nice.”
Funk’s round gave him a two-shot cushion over compatriots Jay Haas and Loren Roberts – the winner of this event in 2006 on the same course Watson almost made history on Sunday – Ireland’s Des Smyth and South African Chris Williams.
Scotland’s Sam Torrance, who resides close to Sunningdale and regularly plays the course, is alongside Watson on three under, three shots better than Sir Nick Faldo.
All the first round scores in the European Senior Tour The Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard, Sunningdale Golf Club, Berkshire, England.
(USA unless stated, par 70):
64 Fred Funk
66 Des Smyth (Irl), Loren Roberts, Christopher Williams (Rsa), Jay Haas
67 Sam Torrance (Sco), Tom Watson, Tom Kite, Jerry Bruner, Greg Norman (Aus)
68 Denis Watson (Zim), Tony Johnstone (Zim), Philip Blackmar, Gordon J Brand (Eng), Scott Simpson, Ian Woosnam (Wal), Olin Browne, Gordon Brand Jnr (Sco), Curt Byrum, Sandy Lyle (Sco), Denis O’sullivan (Irl)
69 Joey Sindelar, Russ Cochran, Jeff Sluman, Bertus Smit (Rsa), Mark O’Meara, Andrew Murray (Eng), Mark McNulty (Irl), Larry Mize, David Eger
70 Andy Bean, Sir Nick Faldo (Eng), Fulton Allem (Rsa), Wayne Grady (Aus), Don Pooley, Bob Charles (Nzl), Bob Cameron (Eng), Eduardo Romero (Arg), Glenn Ralph (Eng), Gary Koch, David Merriman (Aus), Manuel Pinero (Spa), Mark James (Eng), Tom Lehman, Robert L Thompson, Michael Allen, David J Russell (Eng), Bruce Vaughan, Graham Marsh (Aus), Doug Johnson, Angel Fernandez (Chi)
71 Christy O’Connor Jnr (Irl), Mike Donald, Philippe Dugeny (Fra), Joe Ozaki (Jpn), Mike Goodes, Ronnie Black, Bill Mccoll (Sco), Pete Oakley, Katsuyoshi Tomori (Jpn), Stewart Ginn (Aus), Peter Fowler (Aus), Giuseppe Cali (Jpn), Delroy Cambridge (Jam), Noel Ratcliffe (Aus), Chris Starkjohann, Mark Wiebe, Ross Drummond (Sco), Ikuo Shirahama (Jpn), Paul Simson (USA), Tony Allen (Eng)
72 David Ogrin, Juan Quiros (Spa), Wes Burton, Mike Reid, Morris Hatalsky, Bob Gilder, Lonnie Nielsen, Mike Cunning, Kirk Hanefeld, Bernhard Langer (Ger), Marc Farry (Fra), Tony Charnley (Eng), Bobby Lincoln (Rsa), Jay Don Blake, Nick Job (Eng), Peter Mitchell (Eng), Kevin Spurgeon (Eng), John Cook, Simon Owen (Aus), Bob Larratt (Eng), John Morse, Yoshi Mizumaki (Jpn), Peter Dahlberg (Swe), Mark Balen (USA)
73 Luis Carbonetti (Arg), Tom Purtzer, Torsten Giedeon (Ger), Ben Crenshaw, Angel Franco (Par), Eamonn Darcy (Irl), Tim Simpson, Bobby Wadkins, Jose Maria Canizares (Spa)
74 Gary Hallberg, Peter O’Hagan (Irl), Gene Jones, Simon Wood (Eng), Craig Stadler, Roger Chapman (Eng), Carl Mason (Eng), Bill Longmuir (Sco), James Mason, Denis Durnian (Gbr), Costantino Rocca (Jpn), Stephen Bennett (Eng), Jim Rhodes (Eng), John Bland (Rsa), Mike Harwood (Aus), Tim Planchin (Fra)
75 Graham Gunn (Can), Randy Haag, Brady Exber, Alastair Webster (Sco), Shinji Ikeuchi (Jpn), Jerry Pate, Carl Baker (USA)
76 Bob Boyd, Domingo Hospital (Spa), Niall Lavin (Irl), Jose Rivero (Spa), Frank Kiddie (Eng), John C Davies (Eng)
77 Jeff Hawkes (Rsa), Richard Masters (Eng), John Chillas (Gbr), Jimmy Heggarty (NIrl)
78 Joel S Hirsch, Isao Aoki (Jpn), Terry Gale (Aus)
79 Gary Player (Rsa), Ralph McLean (Sco)
80 Antonio Garrido (Spa), Tom McKnight
Rory McIlroy looking to kick on after emotional Ryder Cup
McIlroy broke down in tears in a rare show of emotion in Wisconsin.
Jon Rahm keen to win at Valderrama for ‘historic reasons and nostalgia’
The Spaniard is hoping to perform on home soil.
‘Stupid is as stupid does’ – Phil Mickelson criticises club length restriction
The R&A and USGA have brought in a ‘model local rule’ to limit all clubs other than putters to a maximum of 46 inches.
Top-level golf tournaments to be given option of imposing limit on club length
This could curb the big-hitting likes of Bryson DeChambeau in their continual quest for greater length off the tee.
THE CJ CUP: Vegas links that could help us hit the jackpot this week
The PGA Tour remains in Las Vegas this week and several players in the field have some home advantage which could prove significant.
Betting preview: Sam Burns to continue impressive form in the Shriners Children’s Open
The PGA Tour heads to Las Vegas this week and Planet Sport tipster Jack Kelliher has four selections for the tournament.
Feuding rivals Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka to clash in ‘The Match’
Tensions have run high between the pair since early 2019.
Four golfers to oppose short priced favourite Jon Rahm with in this week’s Open de Espana
The European Tour heads to Spain for three weeks and the action begins at Club de Campo Villa Madrid.
Danny Willett enjoys perfect birthday with Alfred Dunhill Links Championship win
The Englishman won for the first time in over two years.