Bernhard Langer got his bid for a first Senior Major title off to a perfect start by claiming a share of the lead in the US PGA Championship, helped by a soaring eagle on the 14th.
Langer was not fazed by the windy conditions in Colorado as he fired an opening six under par 66 to share the first round lead with American Robin Freeman, the highlight being a holed sand wedge from just over 100 yards on the par four 14th, his fifth hole of the day.
That followed two early birdies and when he birdied the par five 15th he was five under par for his opening six holes. Three more birdies followed with just the two dropped shots as he moved to the head of the leaderboard.
Langer, who has one European Senior Tour title to his name and has won back-to-back Money Lists on the other side of the Atlantic, recently claimed his tenth US Champions Tour title at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am.
Yet despite his success, Langer is yet to taste victory in a Senior Major, with a runner-up finish behind Jay Haas on his US Senior PGA Championship debut his best effort to date. But he is determined to put that record straight this week at Colorado Golf Club.
"It's definitely not easy out there," said the double Masters Champion. "The wind was blowing pretty good again and anywhere I would guess from 15 to 35 miles an hour depending upon what gusts you are getting and it wasn't consistent either from the same direction.
"I think anything under par is a very good score on this golf course in these conditions."
As well as the eagle, Langer also benefitted from some sublime putting, needing only 26 strokes with the short stick.
"I was very happy with my putting," he admitted. "I putted better than I had been the last few weeks and I was pretty pleased. I had good pace all day long. I had about two other putts that looked like they could have gone in, but just stayed on the lip, so I was pretty pleased with my stroke today."
Former US Ryder Cup Captain Tom Lehman is two behind the leading pair on four under, alongside Brad Bryant in third.
South African David Frost shot a level par round for a share of 21st, one ahead of compatriot Chris Williams, Scotland's Andrew Oldcorn, Argentina's Eduardo Romero and in-form Thai Boonchu Ruangkit.