Friday, 19 March 2010
Northern Ireland's Eddie Polland produced a faultless three under par 68 to move within one shot of the lead after the first round of the rain-delayed STC Scandinavian Seniors International at Kungsangen.

Polland, 54, who finished second at the recent Palmerston Seniors Trophy in Berlin, continued that rich vein of form when he recorded three birdies and no bogeys to go into the second round tied alongside Australia's Noel Ratcliffe and Ian Stanley, one shot behind America's Alan Tapie.

The Irishman began his round with a birdie on the 355-yard opening hole but was then called off the course after just three holes when thunder and lightening hit this picturesque area near Stockholm. He had to wait almost 20 hours before resuming his round the following morning but quickly regained his rhythm with further birdies at the 476-yard par-5 5th and the 496-yard par-5 17th.

"That was a pretty good round of golf under the circumstances," said Polland. "It isn't easy to maintain your concentration when you get involved with one of these weather delays but I hit the ball nicely and managed to hit every green in regulation."

Tapie, whose sole win on the European Seniors Tour came at the 1999 Elf Seniors Open also started impressively, moving to four under the card with the help of an outward nine of 32 that included four birdies at the 1st, the 5th, the 8th and the 9th. He then came home in level par 35 to claim a one shot lead.

The most impressive round of the day came from Australia's Noel Ratcliffe who put a death in the family behind him to go into the second round tied for second place on 68.

Ratcliffe, the winner of this year's Beko Classic in Tukey, spent the early part of this week in Ottawa, Canada, where he had been consoling his brother, Jack, after the death of his wife from cancer. He did not arrive at Kungsangen until 3.00pm on Thursday and managed just nine holes of practice but still went round in a 68 that included an inward half of 32.

"It's been a very difficult week but my brother wanted me to come here and do the best I could," said the Australian. "It wasn't easy to keep my mind on my golf after all that's happened but I managed to keep things going."

Ratcliffe and Stanley were the leading Australians after the first round at Kungsangen but one shot behind was European Seniors Tour stalwart David Good from Mornington, Victoria.

Good, who underwent a heart operation last summer to clear a blockage in one of his arteries, recorded a two under par 69 to share fifth place with America’s Bob Lendzion. Paul Leonard, Craig Defoy, Malcolm Gregson, Maurice Bembridge, John Morgan, Bobby Verwey, Peter Dawson, Bernard Gallacher, Bill Hardwick and Leonard Owen all carded 71s to tie for seventh place.

Tommy Horton, the Englishman who headed the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit five times between 1993 and 1999, but who has missed the last two tournaments with a niggling eye injury, returned to competitive action with a level par 71 that gave him a share of 17th place.

Former Open and US Open champion, Tony Jacklin, began his campaign with two over par 73 on what is his first warm-up round for next week's Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

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Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1BEMBRIDGE, MauriceENG18-7
6POLLAND, EddieNIR18-3
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