Scotland’s John Chillas says playing on the European Seniors Tour is “a heck of a nice office” and demonstrated why by taking the first round lead in the £150,000 Charles Church Scottish Seniors Open.
The 53 year old from Stirling posted a four under par 68 at The Roxburghe, near Kelso, to once again challenge for honours on the Seniors Tour.
Scotland’s Bill Longmuir, Seiji Ebihara from Japan and Englishman Tony Allen carded 69s.
Chillas has been on the cusp of victory numerous times this season, finishing second in Jersey as well as recording two third place finishes. He says a few too many high scoring holes have cost him victory.
“I am just trying to keep the bad holes out of the way and if I can do that so much the better. It’s really just one round at a time. We will just wait and see what happens hopefully they will just disappear,” said Chillas, who has won once before on the Seniors Tour in last year’s Travis Perkins Senior Masters at Wentworth Club.
The Scot eagled the par five 14th after hitting a three wood to 15 feet and birdied the par three 17th where he struck a nine iron to four feet. He made four birdies in total and two bogies.
“It was very awkward with the breeze so I am delighted with that start,” said Chillas, who finished joint fourth in last year’s Charles Church Scottish Seniors Open.
The Scot retired as club professional at Glenbervie Golf Club at the end of last year to focus on playing on the Seniors Tour. He was one of Scotland’s top coaches teaching at Stirling University but now only coaches occasionally to scholarship students during the winter at the University.
Longmuir carded a bogey free round and picked up birdies on the first, 11th and 13th.
“Played very solid. I had lots of chances but 69 was a good score. The wind was really strong but for some reason it did not play unbelievable difficult. Greens are a good speed. It wasn’t outrageously tough which I thought it was going to be when we started off,” said Longmuir, who has lived in Essex all his life but was raised as a Scot by his Glaswegian parents.
Defending champion Terry Gale from Australia shot a 72 along with England’s Carl Mason – currently second on this year’s Seniors Tour Order of Merit following three victories.