Ireland’s Des Smyth and England’s Carl Mason shared the first round lead after a glorious opening day for the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters at Woburn Golf Club.
Smyth and Mason, a two-time winner of the event, shot matching rounds of 66 in front of a packed house to lead another Englishman Roger Chapman by one with former Masters Champion Ian Woosnam of Wales and England’s most capped amateur of all-time, Gary Wolstenholme, on four under par.
It was particularly impressive for Wolstenholme on his Senior Tour debut after an amateur career which saw him win 70 titles worldwide, win over 200 caps for England and win two Amateur Championships.
Mason, who won the event in both 2006 and 2007, admitted he got a bit lucky in places, notably when he holed his chip off a bare lie after pulling his tee shot on the 12th way left.
“These things happen and when they do you know it is your day,” said the three-time Order of Merit winner aiming for a record 24th Senior Tour title this week. “I have always enjoyed playing here and it’s a great club. And a tremendous crowd today which created a great atmosphere.”
Smyth, Ryder Cup Vice-Captain in 2006 was playing alongside his Captain from The K Club, Woosnam.
“I got off to a great start with two birdies in two holes and then my partners started making birdies and we carried on all day,” said Smyth. “There was a lot of exciting things going on and it goes to show with a bit of good weather we can play. This is a great course and I am delighted with my round. Everything went my way today but this course can come back and bite you if you are not careful.”
Chapman enjoyed his best putting day of the season as he picked up seven birdies with two dropped shots on his way to a five under par 67.
Wolstenholme made as good a start as he could have hoped for on his debut by birdieing the first on his way to a 68 with Woosnam on the same mark after five birdies and just one dropped shot for the former Ryder Cup Captain.