DESPITE having the maybe dubious assistance of Shane Warne carrying his bag, Peter O’Malley led the Aussie contingent after the first round of the 2015 Senior British Open.
In his debut senior major, O’Malley shot a two under 68 to be in touch with the record eight golfers sharing first place at 5-under at Sunningdale Golf Club in Berkshire, England.
“I had two birdies and 16 pars. There was nothing exciting and there was no flair like Warney used to. I hit lots of fairways and lots of greens but only made two birdies,” said O’Malley, who recently turned 50 and is trying his luck on the European Senior Tour.
An extended break between Ashes Tests allowed Shane Warne some time off cricket commentary to try a second job.
“It was great fun out there,’ Warne said. “Peter struck the ball beautifully and it was nice to be out there with my mate.
‘I didn’t too much really – I just carried a bag and realised it got really heavy at the end. It is quite a tough walk around Sunningdale but really good fun. I’m thankful for the opportunity.”
The leaders included defending champion Bernhard Langer, who streeted the field last year with an unprecedented 13-stroke victory at Royal Porthcawl in Wales, the now legendary Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiménez, American quintet Michael Allen, Bart Bryant, Marco Dawson, Lee Janzen and Jeff Sluman, along with Lianwei Zhang, the first Chinese player ever to compete in The Senior Open.
Langer is bidding to equal the record of three victories in the Senior Open, currently held by Gary Player and Tom Watson, who bid an emotional farewell to the the British Open last week at St Andrews and is hanging in with a 3-under this week.
“I held it together well today,” said Langer. “My putting was pretty good. I don’t feel totally comfortable with my swing yet, I’m still working on it. I think I get underneath it a bit which causes a push-fade and a pull-hook. I’m trying to improve in that area. But overall, five-under is a good score, and I didn’t make any major mistakes and kept it together.”
His playing partner Jiménez is competing in his second Senior Open after finished tied eighth last year.
“It’s a good start. The target is still at the end of the week and the thing you need to do is keep enjoying it and have fun like I did today on the golf course,” said Jiménez, who remains the oldest ever winner of a European Tour event.
The other Aussies in the field this week are the very in form Peter Fowler (69), US Champions tour regular Peter Senior, also on 1-under, Mike Harwood (71), Glenn Joyner (72)and Richard Backwell (73).
2015 Senior British Open Leaderboard2015 Senior British Open Leaderboard