Northern Ireland’s Eddie Polland returned to action after a knee operation by taking the lead after the first round of the Lawrence Batley Seniors with an opening 66, five under, at Huddersfield GC.
Polland, twice a runner up last season, missed the Jersey Seniors Open a fortnight ago due to the operation but had no difficulty in firing six birdies during the round to lead by two from Mike Slater, David Jones and David Huish.
After an opening bogey, Polland birdied the second, fifth and eighth for an outward half of 34. Another birdie followed on the 12th after he hit a nine iron to four feet and three holes later the former Ryder Cup player rolled in a 15 foot putt for his fifth birdie of the day. Finally on the par-five 18th, he got up and down from the greenside bunker for a back nine of 32.
“I played well but steady,” he said. “I didn’t really capitalise on birdiing the par-fives.”
Among the group two shots off the pace is compatriot David Jones, who won his maiden Seniors Tour title a fortnight ago in Jersey. An outward half of 36 was made up of seven pars, one birdie and a bogey but he made his move with three successive birdies from the 13th, all from close range.
“I’m playing relaxed, carrying on from Jersey and still playing well,” he said.
Mike Slater, playing with Lawrence Batley OBE, the 88-year-old principle sponsor of the event, made a nervy start by missing the green with a five iron to drop a shot on the first but pulled it back with a birdie on the 375-yards seventh. An eight iron next to the pin set up an birdie on the 12th and, after a bogey on the next, Slater fired two more birdies in the last three holes for his 68.
“I holed out well,” he said. “Putting made the score.”
Also on 68 is Scotland’s David Huish who made steady progress with three birdies and three sand saves from greenside bunkers to continue his good run of form.