Friday, 19 March 2010
Ireland's Denis O'Sullivan carded a six under par 67 to open a one shot lead after the first round of the Charles Church Scottish Seniors Open at The Roxburghe.

The former Irish amateur international from Cork carded an eagle and five birdies to finish the round a single shot ahead of England's Neil Coles and Denis Durnian.

America's Steve Stull returned a three under par 69 to finish the round in fourth place, one shot ahead of America's Bill Brask and England's Tommy Horton.

O'Sullivan won twice on the Seniors Tour in both 2000 and 2001 but this season his best performance to date came when he lost out to Japan's Dragon Taki in a sudden-death play-off at the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open in Switzerland.

The Irishman has high hopes of ending that winless run after a round which started with a birdie on the 364 yard par four third hole and a spectacular eagle on the 546 yard par five fifth hole where he pitched in from about 40 yards below the green.

He dropped a shot on the sixth to go out in 32 but then came storming hole with an inward nine of 34 that included birdies at both of the last two holes.

"That was as good a round as I have had for a while," confirmed the 54 year old Irishman. "I have been playing pretty well for the last few weeks but it hasn't quite been happening for me.

"Today was a bit different," he added. "I hit a couple of bad shots but I got away with them and that's what you need if you are going to post a good score."

Coles matched his age for the fourth time in competition with a marvellous round in which he went out in one under par 35 but then came home in a four under par 32 that included birdies on the tenth, 12th, 15th and 18th.

The Englishman came into the event fresh from finishing tied fourth at last week's Bovis Lend Lease European Senior Masters at Woburn G & CC and will now be intent on extending his record as the oldest man ever to win on the Seniors Tour.

Coles set a new world record when he captured the Lawrence Batley tournament at the age of 67 and 276 days at the end of June and he would be 67 and 361 days if he was to collect the £22,500 winner's cheque on Sunday.

"I hit a lot of solid shots out there," confirmed the Englishman who won 25 times on the European Tour and represented GB & I in eight Ryder Cups.

"I mucked it up a bit coming down the stretch last Sunday so I would love to make amends for that. But at my age it's just nice to be playing. I still love the competition and that's what keeps me going."

Durnian came into the Charles Church Scottish Seniors Open with the reputation of being one of the most consistent performers on the Seniors Tour. He arrived in Kelso having notched eight top-ten finishes in his previous 14 starts this season and looks all set to add another after a fine round that included no less than seven birdies.

The Englishman dropped a shot at the 396 yard par four second hole but then birdied the third, fourth, fifth and ninth to storm to the turn in three under par 33. Coming home, he birdied the 11th, 12th and fifteen before three-putting for a bogey on the 394 yard 16th hole.

"That was a good round of golf," said Durnian, who currently stands in second place on the Seniors Tour money list with earnings of 149,958 euro (£95,615).

"Last week I didn't play well at all. I let the trees at Woburn intimidate me but this was a lot better. I was cruising along nicely but the three-putt at the 16th took the wind out of my sails a bit."

Defending champion, America's David Oakley, returned a one under par 71 to finish one shot ahead of local favourite, Bernard Gallacher. Ireland's Eamonn Darcy, making just his third appearance on the Seniors Tour, lipped out three times on his way to posting a 73 while former Open and US Open champion, Tony Jacklin, carded a 74.

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Pos Player nameNatHolePar
5DURNIAN, DenisENG18-10
T6TAPIE, AlanUSA18-4
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