America’s Jeff Freeman headed the early leaderboard after a fast start on the first morning of the 2012 Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Turnberry.
Despite fairly benign conditions on the Ailsa Course first thing on Thursday, dry with barely a breath of wind, the famous Ayrshire links were proving a stiff test for the morning portion of the 144-man field assembled for the 26th playing of the event, with only seven players under par as the day progressed.
Freeman, who is this year playing his first season on the US Champions Tour after gaining his card as the Number One graduate at the 2011 Qualifying School, seized an early one shot lead as he reached the turn in 32 blows, three under par courtesy of birdies at the opening par four first, the short fourth, and the long seventh holes.
After only turning 50 in April, the Oklahoman is continuing a consistent run of form in his debut season as a Senior, having made six out of six cuts so far this year across the Atlantic.
Germany’s Bernhard Langer, winner of The Senior Open in 2010, made consecutive birdies at the second and third holes to sit one behind Freeman, while jumping out from the five-man group at one under par during the initial exchanges was England’s Roger Chapman, playing the first two days with Tom Watson and Greg Norman after an astonishing 2012 that has already seen him claim two Senior Major scalps, and the Ascot man settled early with a birdie at the 354-yard first, ‘Ailsa Craig’.