Gary Wolstenholme got his Senior Tour career off to a flying start after a four under par 68 saw him just off the top of the leaderboard at the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters.
The Englishman is the county’s most capped amateur after a career spanning two decades and it was easy to see why with five birdies in the first 12 holes at Woburn Golf Club on his Senior Tour debut.
Two bogeys in the middle of the back nine at the 14th and 15th looked like derailing a fine round, but a closing birdie on the 18th saw Wolstenholme get back to a deserved four under position which left him one behind early leader Roger Chapman.
Wolstenholme said: “If someone had said to me I’d shoot 68 then I’d have snatched their hand off. I played really well and I was really pleased with the birdie to finish.
“I was a little nervous on the first tee as I just wanted to get a good tee shot away and thankfully I did and it set up a birdie. From then on it was just another round.”
Wolstenholme, a two time British Amateur champion, will be looking for more of the same over the weekend but he is just taking it one shot at a time.
He said: “I have always been someone to take each round as 18 tees and 18 greens and I’ll keep with that. It’s one of my favourite courses here even though funnily enough I’ve never scored that well round here. That’s my best round on the Duke’s.
“This is just a beautiful place to play golf.”
But the Englishman has more things on his mind than just the scenery as he hopes to finish in the top ten in order to get in to the Casa Serena Open next week.
He said: “I had no preconceived ideas about this week other than trying to finish top ten. That was the goal at the start of the week and it’s still the goal now.”
He got off to the perfect start after a short pitch up the green yielded a birdie on the par five first and he continued with another on five after a wedge shot to four feet.
Birdies followed on the ninth, tenth and the twelfth after some solid approach play gave him putts from inside ten feet. He was rushed into mistakes at the 14th and 15th but a nine iron hooked round the trees on the last to twelve feet was the perfect finish to the round.
He said: “I made a couple of bogeys that were silly as I had started to rush so it could have been better. But a great day, good playing partners and a beautiful course – what isn’t to like?”