AMERICA’S Kirk Triplett missed a 10 foot birdie putt on his final hole in the first round of the 2017 US Senior Open that would have set the all time low scoring record for the event.
Just a couple of weeks after records were tumbling at the US Open at Erin Hills the older guys were getting into the act with Tripplet’s 8-under 62 matching the US Champions Tour major record.
The 55 year old ended with a one stroke lead over Olin Browne (63) on a day that saw 40 players break par at the Salem Country Club.
Triplett started in the afternoon when there were already a number of scores around five under and quickly set the tone for his day with four birdies on his first six holes.
After rising to the top of the leaderboard by the turn he climbed to 8 under when he holed out a 9-iron from 120 yards on the 341-yard, par-4 fourth hole (his 13th of the day).
“I think it was getting a little spooky there, that part,” said the the 55 year, who had three PGA TOUR wins and has five Champions Tour victories.
“Today I just got some momentum. At one point during the round, I said, ‘OK, this is your day. Grab it. Go.”
Competitors were greeted by a windless course softened by rain and conditions were expected to get tougher as the tournament progresses.
“Do they pay you for that?” Triplett said of his record equalling score. “It’s Thursday night, and there’s a whole bunch of guys that are really close. So I’m more about the tournament than about the individual rounds accomplishment. I just feel great to be in the thick of it.”
Bernhard Langer, who won the first two senior majors of the year, was at 67 and T13 while last week’s winner Fred Couples shot a 68.
Australia’s Peter Fowler had a promising start with two birdies on the front nine but had three bogies on the last to finish at a 1-over 71 tied for 57th in the 156 golfer field.