Friday, 19 March 2010
Sixty nine year-old New Zealander, Bob Charles, the 1963 Open champion, beat his age with a remarkable one under par 68 to move to within one shot of leaders, John Chillas and Nick Job, after the first round of the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open at Royal St David's in Harlech.

Charles, the first left-hander ever to win a Major, goes into the second round tied with Bob Cameron and Carl Mason one shot ahead of Horatio Carbonetti, Gavan Levenson and Sam Torrance who all defied persistent rain with level par 69s. 70 year-old Neil Coles came close to replicating the feat of the New Zealander, equalling his age with a 70 in to share ninth place with Giuseppi Cali, Eamonn Darcy, Tommy Horton and Ian Mosey.

Horton, the former Seniors Tour Number One from Jersey, also had a round to remember, holing-in-one with a 4-iron on Royal St David's 202 yard par three closing hole to win 202 bottles of Hardys wine - one for every yard of the hole.

Charles showed that he has lost none of the talent that brought him the 1963 Open title, firing four birdies over his opening eight holes before dropping shots at the 14th, 15th and 16th as the weather started to deteriorate.

"I'm delighted with that, despite the dropped shots at the end," he said. "I played well and it makes it even more special beating my age. That's not something that happens too often so you've got to be pleased when it does.

"I love links golf and it doesn't get much purer than here at Royal St David's," he added. "It's a great course, one of my favourites, I just love coming here."

Charles goes into the second round one shot behind early pace-setters, Chillas and Job, who are both seeking their first victories of the 2005 season

Chillas, the 2004 Seniors Tour champion from Stirling, began with a birdie at the 436 yard par four first, dropped a shot at the 517 yard par five seventh but then eagled the 8th and birdied the 11th and 17th to grab a share of the lead

"That's as good as I have played for a while," he said. "It wasn't easy. The worse the rain got, the less sure you became about what sort of shot you wanted to hit. Some ran when they hit the ground while others stopped dead. All you could do was trust your judgement and hope you had made the right decision."

Job also made his score with a fine opening nine. He birdied the first, sixth and eighth, dropped shots at the 13th and 15th but then birdied the 427 yard par four 17th to set the early pace.

"I won the pro-am yesterday and, at the time, wondered whether I had peaked one day too early," he said. "Fortunately, though, I played just as well today. I got a great start when I birdied the first and that got me going. It's nice to get back to somewhere close to my top form."

Horton, who headed the Seniors Tour Order of Merit five times in the 1990s, was equally delighted after the dramatic ending to his round.

"That's the 12th hole-in-one I've had but the first time I've ever won anything," said the former Seniors Tour Number One.

"The last time I had one was at the Senior Tour Championship at Mere a couple of years ago. There was a Rolex watch on offer for a hole-in-one on one hole but I missed out because I got mine on another. 202 bottle of wine is a nice consolation, though. I'm sure we can have a pretty good party with that."

Derrick Cooper, the former Madrid Open champion, who was making his Seniors Tour debut after spending the last five years working as a Tournament Director and Referee on the Tour, produced a much less auspicious finish to his round. He dropped six shots over his last six holes to finish well down the field on 75.

"I was alright until the rain started but then it all got a little bit difficult," said Cooper. "My driving was abysmal which is strange because that used to be the best part of my game.

"I felt but weird this morning," he admitted. "I could feel the butterflies in my stomach just like I used to when I started out on the regular Tour but I birdied the first and that settled me down a bit. Actually, I thought I was playing pretty well until I ran out of steam over the closing holes."

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