Golden run fires Phil to the top

8/24/2012 3:12:29 PM
Phil Golding   (Getty Images)
Phil Golding (Getty Images)

Red hot Philip Golding fired a spectacular eight birdies in a row en route to his third consecutive eight under par round of 64, as the Englishman claimed a two shot first round lead over home favourite Mark Mouland in the Speedy Services Wales Senior Open.

Having carded back-to-back rounds of 64 at the weekend to finish runner up to Anders Forsbrand in the SSE Scottish Senior Open, Golding continued his purple patch, sealing an incredible scoring hat-trick courtesy of a fine putting performance at Conwy (Caernarvonshire) Golf Club.

The 50 year old, playing in just his third Senior Tour event, began brightly with birdies on the first and third holes, but bogeyed the fourth and sixth holes to drop back to level par.

He then ignited his round with a remarkable run of eight consecutive birdies from the ninth hole to set a new European Senior Tour record and equal the feat achieved by just ten players on The European Tour.

That golden run came to an end on the 17th hole, after he missed the green to the right and tried to chip in for birdie, but ran his attempt 12ft past and missed the returning putt.

However, with a third straight 64 in his sights, Golding holed a 20ft birdie putt on the last to finish off in style for a back nine of 30 strokes.

It means the 2003 Open de France winner is a cumulative 24 under par for his last three rounds on the Senior Tour, after positing 11 birdies altogether in Wales.

“It’s not a bad number to be stuck on, 64, is it?” said Golding. “That’s three on the spin now so I’m delighted.

“I didn’t play as well today as I did on the weekend, but I holed a few putts and I made 11 birdies, which is great.

“It was disappointing to bogey the 17th after making eight birdies on the spin. I was a bit too aggressive with that chip, so it was nice to finish with a birdie after that mistake.

“I wasn’t as comfortable today as last week and got lucky a few times, but I holed some great putts.

“It’s nice to break a few records along the way as well. That’s nice to know. It’s been an incredible run and it was a great putting day.”

“It’s a course you have to think off the tee. You can’t hit driver everywhere. It’s a great course. Every hole makes you think and the greens were in fantastic condition today.”

Cheered on by the home crowd, Mouland leads the chasing pack after a six under par 66, as he attempts to win on the course his father Sid claimed the Welsh Professionals Championship in 1966.

 The 51 year old, who was born in St Athan, chipped in on the first and carded seven more birdies as he chases a second Senior Tour title.

“I was happy with that start,” he said. “I three putted the fifth and eighth holes but apart from that it was pretty good.

“I actually had a load of chances.  I holed two 30ft putts on six and 15, but three-putted two holes so it could have been fantastic. It’s a tough course though so I have to be happy.

“We had quite a few people watching out there which is nice. To win an event in Welsh would be fantastic. My dad won six Welsh Professional Championships including that one here so it would be nice to copy him.”

Forsbrand, who last week became the first Swede to win on the Senior Tour, continued his good form with a five under par 67 to lie three shots off the pace in third position, setting up another weekend battle with Golding.

“I played very well and hit a lot of good shots again,” said the six-time European Tour winner. “I holed a 25ft putt for birdie on 17 and very nearly did the same on 18, which would have been a serious bonus.

“If I keep playing like I am, good numbers should happen.  On a course like this though you don’t need to miss by much to make a bogey. It’s a great golf course, but very difficult.

“You need to focus on every single shot. I think it is a great golf course but very difficult. If the wind gets up, breaking 75 would be a great number.

“What Phil has done today round here is amazing. Three 64s in a row is unbelievable.”

Former World Number One and Masters Champion Ian Woosnam, who played alongside Forsbrand and double Senior Major Champion Roger Chapman, opened with a two under par 70 after dropping a shot on the last hole, and is in a share of eighth position.

Senior Tour Order of Merit leader Chapman, who is sponsored by tournament title sponsor Speedy Services, signed for a one over par round of 73.