Friday, 31 July 2009
The Senior Open  Championship - Round Three  (Getty Images)
The Senior Open Championship - Round Three (Getty Images)

Greg Norman continued the form that saw him lead The Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard going into the final day with a superb opening round 66 in the US Senior Open.

The Australian birdied four straight holes on the front nine, but bogeyed the final hole to finish on six under par at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana.

He is in a four way share of the lead with Americans Dan Forsman, Joey Sindelar and amateur Tim Jackson, who broke the record low score by an amateur in the US Senior Open on his senior debut.

Norman, who finished tied sixth at Sunningdale Golf Club last week following a superb third round 64, once again showed the class that took him to World Number One in his prime.

"I played well today and the golf course was ready to be had. It was perfect conditions," the 54-year-old Aussie said. "The greens were just receptive enough to be aggressive with the shots if you want to play them."

Those atop the leaderboard made it look easy on the 7,316-yard course, the longest in U.S. Senior Open history.

Norman might have shot 65 had he not been surprised when he walked to the 18th tee and found the hole playing 42 yards shorter than in the practice rounds. He hit into the left rough as a result, leaving him a treacherous uphill second shot. The ball landed in the front bunker and Norman's blast out of the sand wound up on the back corner of the green for a 40-foot par putt. He left it six feet short.

"There is such a severe upslope, and the grain was going straight into me," said the two time Open Champion. "When you're on a keen angle on an upslope, it's difficult to keep that accelerating through because your body wants to fall back. So you're not getting a full rotation."

Andy Bean and Fulton Allem were one shot back at 67 while seven players, led by Senior Open Champion Loren Roberts and 1996 Open Champion Tom Lehman, were two back at 68. Tom Watson, who was defeated in a play-off by Stewart Cink in The Open Championship two weeks ago, opened with a one under par 71.

Ian Woosnam was the leading European after a level par opening round 72 while defending Champion, Eduardo Romero of Argentina, shot a 73, the same as Berrnhard Langer and Mark McNulty.


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