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Friday, 03 September 2004
Former Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance, just back from basking in the Barbados sun following his first victory in the senior game, lies just off the lead in the Bovis Lend Lease European Senior Masters at Woburn Golf & Country Club following a first round that promised so much.

Just over two weeks ago the burly Scot won the Travis Perkins Senior Masters at Wentworth Club and in his first competitive outing since then he posted a two under par 70 to sit three stokes behind the leader, Ireland’s Eamonn Darcy.

Torrance’s two week vacation in Barbados looked to have worked wonders as he reached three under for his round with a birdie on 14 and then faced a four footer for birdie on the following hole.

Unfortunately the 51 year old contrived to three putt the 15th for a bogey and later three putted the last for another dropped shot.

“Bit of a disastrous finish. Should have gone to four under on 15 but made a mess of things. Just hope to avoid that kind of finish at the weekend,” said Torrance, who captained Europe to victory in the Ryder Cup two years ago.

The Scot is well placed going into the weekend and would dearly love to follow up his win at Wentworth with another at Woburn.

Darcy leads the European Seniors Tour event by two strokes from second placed Jerry Bruner from the United States. Torrance is placed third along with Englishman Maurice Bembridge, Australian Terry Gale, Jamaica’s Delroy Cambridge, and Simon Owen from New Zealand.

“I played good, hit it solid. Pity about the last where I hit a lovely second shot to five feet but left the birdie putt short. I putted solid though. Made a few, missed a few. I kept it on the fairway that was the main thing. Just hit it in the trees once. Hit my irons well and kept out of trouble,” said Darcy, who is looking for his maiden seniors victory since turning 50 two years ago.

He was on course for a hatrick of birdies at the end following birdies on 16 and 17 before his miss on the last.

The Irishman has focused on playing on the US Champions Tour this season and has a best finish of equal 10th.

“My form has not been good this year. It’s tough playing in the States. I am looking forward to the weekend here. It is nice to shoot a good opening round,” added the Irishman.

Scotland’s Bill Longmuir, winner of last weekend’s Scottish Seniors Open, came in with a 72 while Carl Mason from England, a three time winner this season on the Seniors Tour, fired a 75.

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