With a crisp long iron punched down the middle of the Ailsa Course’s first fairway, South Africa’s Bobby Lincoln got the 26th Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex underway at Turnberry at 7 o’clock on Thursday morning.
Under pale grey skies, with barely a breath of wind in the Ayrshire air, the opening group of Lincoln, England’s Barry Stevens, and Chile’s Angel Fernandez were welcomed to the tee by the distinctive tenor of Official Starter, Ivor Robson, accompanied by a ripple of applause from a small yet appreciative audience.
Beneath the watchful eye of the famous, 106 years old Turnberry Hotel perched on the hillside above, with the brooding and omnipresent Ailsa Craig granite island lying 11 miles out to sea to the right, Lincoln and Fernandez chose irons for their inaugural offerings, while Stevens went with a fairway wood.
All three found the fairway of the 354-yard par four opener, though, with 56 year old Fernandez posting the first birdie of the championship on the hole bestowed with the name of Turnberry’s renowned icon, ‘Ailsa Craig’.
With clouds set to thin over the course of the morning, the sun poised to make another appearance, and a field of Major Champions, Ryder Cuppers, and golfing legends to come, a superb first day at Turnberry is in store.