Friday, 27 June 2003
Ireland’s Des Smyth heads the European challenge in the US Senior Open, lying in a share of eighth place on one over par and six shots behind leader Tom Watson.

Smyth has one hole to complete of his first round after a thunderstorm suspended play at Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio, with 36 players still on the course but it was still an impressive start for the winner of eight European Tour titles, particularly after a shaky start.

Two bogeys in his opening two holes followed by a double bogey on the par three fifth hole was not the start he would have wanted in his first appearance in the Championship but he dug deep to pick up four birdies in five holes from the ninth to get back to level par. A bogey on the 15th put him back to one over with just the 18th hole to play.

Two weeks ago Watson electrified the US Open galleries by shooting a 65 to share the lead after the first round. Now playing in the Senior version, Watson had another terrific day as he shot a five under par 66 to take a three stroke lead after the first day.

Bruce Lietzke lies in second place after a two under par 69 with Mike McCullough and JC Snead the only other players to break par.

Gary Player, an Honorary Member of the European Seniors Tour, continues to compete at the highest level at the age of 67, starting his bid for a tenth Senior Major title with an opening 73, two over par, to lie in a share of 14th place.

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