Thursday, 28 July 2011
Bernhard Langer   (Getty Images)
Bernhard Langer (Getty Images)

Bernhard Langer began his defence of the US Senior Open Championship with a solid one under par round of 70 at Inverness Club in Ohio.

The German holed a 16ft birdie putt on the last to sit six strokes behind first round leader Olin Browne, who eagled the fourth and eighth holes en route to a superb seven under par 64.

Langer, who won the title last year the week after winning his first Senior Major in The Senior Open Championship at Carnoustie,  missed three months of the season due to a thumb injury and is slowly returning to his best form.

The 2004 Ryder Cup Captain birdied the second and seventh holes but dropped consecutive shots on the 13th and 14th holes before his rousing finish.

“I ran into back to back bogies there on 13 and 14, and I really lost my game a little bit,” he said.  “I started driving the ball poorly and just not doing anything very well. 

“After that I actually started playing better again.  I hit some decent tee shots and some fairways and some greens.  I had some opportunities coming home and finally made a birdie on 18.

“Every shot counts, every shot is important.  So it's nicer to be in the red numbers and one closer to the leaders, that's for sure.”

South African Chris Williams, who finished runner up to Boonchu Ruangkit in the 2010 European Senior Tour Order of Merit, also posted an opening round 71 as did Russ Cochran, winner of last week's Senior Open Championship.

Michael Allen and Mark  O’Meara both produced flawless rounds of 66 to share sit in a share of second place.

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