DGM Barbados Open - Round One (Getty Images)
Sam Torrance continued his recent resurgence on the European Senior Tour by firing a flawless seven under par 65 to surge into a three shot lead after the opening round of the DGM Barbados Open.
Torrance missed a six foot birdie chance on the last hole which would have seen him equal the course record of 64 shared by Priscillo Dinz (2001), Terry Gale (2003) and Gavan Levenson (2004) but the Scot carded seven birdies elsewhere to get off to a stunning start at Royal Westmoreland.
The 2002 Ryder Cup winning Captain reached the turn in four under par 32 after following birdies on the opening two holes by picking up further shots on the fifth and seventh holes. He then added further birdies on 13th, 16th and 16th to lead Gordon J Brand and Mike Harwood by three strokes.
Torrance admitted that a hand injury that has plagued him for the past two years was still “only 90 per cent right” but he showed no signs of the problem in a simply majestic round.
“I played magnificently today – that was about as good as gets,” said the two time Senior Tour Order of Merit winner. “I missed a chance on the final hole to go to eight under but I played beautifully. I holed a fantastic 25ft on the 17th for birdie. The course is very tricky so I’m delighted with that start.
The 55 year old is in a rich vein of form after following his tenth Senior Tour victory in the 2008 season ending OKI Castellón Open España – Senior Tour Championship with a tied sixth finish in the 2009 curtain raiser, the Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters presented by The Stapleford Forum, at the start of the month.
“I’ve been working really hard on my game over the winter,” he said. “I fixed my swing for the Senior Tour Championship and then worked on it over the break. I was playing most days over the winter. I played well in Brunei but didn’t get anything. My game is in great shape.”
Englishman Brand, who finished second behind Ian Woosnam in the 2008 Order of Merit, birdied the final hole after dropping a shot on the 15th to sign for a four under par round of 68 which was equalled by Australian Harwood, who is playing in his second Senior Tour event after ten years out of the game.
Torrance’s compatriot Ross Drummond carded a 69 to lie a shot further back and said he was delighted to be contending at the top of the leaderboard alongside his countryman.
He said: “Sam had a great round out there. It was pretty miserable and blustery on my front nine so I was happy just to make the one mistake on my seventh hole when I came up short of the green with a sandwedge and failed to get up and down.
“I played really well on the way in and managed to find some rhythm. I’m still a bit rusty, I think, but I was delighted with the way I played.”
Defending champion Bill Longmuir posted a double bogey on his penultimate hole to finish on one under par 71, while Woosnam began the defence of his John Jacobs Trophy with a three over par round of 75.