England’s Bob Cameron used the confidence he took from his highest finish at a Senior Major to shoot to the top of the leaderboard on day one of the inaugural Parkridge Polish Seniors Championship.
Cameron, who finished in the top 30 at last week’s US Senior PGA Championship, came home in 31 at Krakow Golf and Country Club to finish the day on five under par, one ahead of Ireland’s Eamonn Darcy and Jamaica’s Delroy Cambridge.
Having recovered from a “wobbly start” in which he found water at the third hole, Cameron grabbed five birdies on the back nine to set him in pursuit of his third Seniors Tour title.
He said: “I came into the tournament in good form, because I had a tremendous last round in the States. I was a bit rusty going into the US Senior PGA, because we hadn’t played for about seven weeks. Then when I saw how thick the rough was, my first goal when I got there was just to make the cut. Once I had, maybe I relaxed a bit too much on the third day.
“But I finished very well, and ended up with my highest ever finish in a Senior Major. I was up against some great players, and it was a very tough course. So I was really pleased, just as I was here. And it was great to play with Bob Charles today, who’s still a fantastic golfer. I hope I’m still playing at his age!”
Darcy – seven times a runner-up on the Seniors Tour – is well poised to break his duck after a round of 68, which was matched by Cambridge, who twice chipped in from off the green.
Cambridge said: “I have been working on my short game, so it’s nice when it pays off. But I’ve been working on all aspects of my game, and my fitness. I feel fresh – I could happily go and play another 18 holes now!”
A solid putting stroke was the secret of Darcy’s success – as well as the ability to focus on his own game, and trust his instincts.
On the last hole, the Irishman ignored the advice of his playing partner Carl Mason to post a birdie and sign for a four under par round of 68.
Darcy was urged by last year’s Order of Merit winner Mason to attack the 18th green with his second shot – but instead chose to lay up short.
That cautious approach paid dividends, as Darcy chipped on and rolled in the putt from 12 feet to give himself a chance of ending his barren streak.
Darcy said: “I made some great putts today, and none more so than on the last hole. Carl had told me to go for the green with my second shot, and I did think about it – but I’m glad I didn’t listen to him!
“I’m just pleased to be up there, because I’ve had some painkilling injections in my back, which has been playing up. I’m going to have a rest for a few weeks after this tournament, so I’m hoping to do so on the back of a decent performance here. It’s been a good year for the Irish golfers so far – hopefully I can keep the run going.”
The highlight of the round of Hospital, who finished third on his maiden Seniors Tour appearance at the Azores Senior Open, was an eagle two on the ninth hole.
Earlier in the day, England’s John Hoskison celebrated turning 50 on Thursday by carding a 71, his round featuring two eagles and as many double bogeys.
He was joined in a tie for 13th on one under par by Wales’ Ian Woosnam, who had three birdies and two bogeys on his card.
Woosnam – playing his second event on the European Seniors Tour – came into the tournament in good form after a top 20 finish at last week’s US Senior PGA Championship, but was disappointed not to have taken advantage of the benign conditions in Krakow.
He said: “The course wasn’t particularly difficult – although the rough’s quite tough – but I didn’t play especially well. If you get going, you can score well out there.
“It is quite long out there though – my legs are certainly hurting me! And it was quite difficult to get used to the pace of the greens after coming from America. But we’re getting there slowly.
“It’s fantastic that we’re here, because bringing golf to Poland and other parts of eastern Europe can only be a good thing for the game.”
Another very good thing for the game is the form of the evergreen Charles, who shot lower than his age for the sixth time in is Seniors Tour career.