Noel Ratcliffe matched the lowest round shot on the European Seniors Tour when he carded a ten under par 62 in the De Vere PGA Seniors Championship, which came to a premature end on the opening day because of poor weather.
The Australian recently became the second player to surpass €1 million in career earnings on the Seniors Tour and showed the kind of form that has helped him reap such rich rewards at De Vere Carden Park when he nailed two eagles and six birdies.
Ratcliffe’s round broke the course record – set by New Zealand’s Simon Owen and Englishman Carl Mason last year - by two strokes.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Alan Mew carded a 65, while John Chillas from Scotland fired a 66. Play was stopped for the day at 2.30pm because of rain and lightning meaning a total of 74 players were unable to complete their rounds.
Only England’s Tommy Horton has shot ten under for 18 holes before on the Seniors Tour and Ratcliffe’s performance was also the lowest of his 30 year professional career.
“That is my best competition round ever. You don’t shoot ten under par every second day,” said Ratcliffe.
The Australian has claimed seven titles on the Seniors Tour with the last coming in the 2003 AIB Irish Seniors Open. He also won twice on The European Tour.
“I have been playing nicely for a while but I have been having trouble with my driving. I have been shooting some low numbers but messing things up with tee shots. Last week in Switzerland I started to play a bit better,” added the 59 year old from Sydney.
Both of his eagles, on five and ten, resulted from brilliant five wood approach shots which landed close to the pin. He made birdies on one, three, ten, 14, 15 and 17.
Mew, who was born in Trinidad & Tobago and now lives in Southampton, also managed to card a bogey free round.
“It has not been a good year up until now so it is useful to go under par for a change. I have played reasonably well all year but I keep making the odd double which come out of nowhere. I just have not been able to make it happen this year,” said Mew.
Mason came in with a 67 along with Jamaican Delroy Cambridge, England’s Malcolm Gregson and South African Gavan Levenson.
Scotland’s Sam Torrance lay at one under after six holes before the bad weather hit. He will return at 7.30am on Friday morning to complete his first round.