Darren Clarke played “smart” at Sunningdale and made six birdies on a starting 65 that gave him a share of the first-round lead with James Kingston at The Senior Open. See the second day live starting at 1 pm at Sky Sports Golf.
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 07/22/21 9:13 pm
Darren Clarke used his respect for Sunningdale to his advantage, as he won a portion of the first-round lead with James Kingston at The Senior Open.
Clarke enjoyed a sun-soaked afternoon at the historic Old Course and loaded a 65 of six birdies to hit the front line alongside Kingston, who leads a senior major just weeks after being hospitalized with Covid-19.
Defending champion Bernhard Langer got his customary strong start in the four-time Major, while there were also encouraging starts for several former European Ryder Cup captains.
Clarke will sleep in the joint lead overnight after he came around the turn at 31 and, after his only mistake of the round at 12, hit again to birdie the next two holes and par. safe home to stay at five under par.
“I think you have to respect Sunningdale,” said Clarke, a two-time PGA Tour Champions winner. “You have to play smart here. It’s important to hit the fairways, that can be any week, but I’ve played here long enough to know that there are certain flags you are going for and there are certain flags that you aren’t.” go for.
“And I played smartly around here. I hit away from the flags to the center of the greens and gave myself some chances, and I kept giving myself chances there on the final holes. I didn’t do anything at the end, but I just played smart. I think the winner will have to play smart this week. “
Kingston came to Sunningdale following his win at the WINSTONgolf Senior Open Invitational in Germany last week, although the South African still felt he lacked the necessary preparation for a major due to his hospital stay.
He said: “I feel a bit unprepared. I was with Covid and in the hospital, so I don’t think my preparation for this week is exactly what I would have liked. But when you come to a place like this and you like the countryside golf, it seems to creep into your game, and I love what I see out there.
“You keep looking at the landscape, those purple flowers with the green and all the stripes on the fairways, it’s just a beautiful golf course. It’s one of the most beautiful golf courses I think I’ve ever played.”
Meanwhile, Langer shows no signs of slowing down as he approaches his 64th birthday, the evergreen German birdies three of the last five holes in a neat 66 finish before crediting his fitness and longevity to “sauerkraut and sausage. “.
“I think my strength was my driving,” Langer said. “I hit him pretty well off the tee and hit some pretty good iron shots, but my weakness was the putter. I had two three putts early on and made my first putt at 16 and another at 17 and had a par except at 18. ¡ I wish I could have played a few more holes, but I was warming up with the putter! “
Vivo European Seniors Tour Golf
July 23, 2021, 1:00 pm
As Langer bid for his twelfth senior major and his fifth at the Senior Open, Ernie Els marked his debut with a typically smooth 68, and while three other European Ryder Cup captains at Thomas Bjorn, Colin Montgomerie and Ian Woosnam are well positioned in two under par.
Paul McGinley, the 2014 winning captain, birdied the last for a 69, one of 34 U-70 rounds on opening day, while pre-tournament favorite Jim Furyk was doing well on two under, with birdies on both. par five, only to end up with a double bogey six at the end.