Ian Woosnam rolled back the years with a majestic seven under par 65 in the first round of the WINSTONgolf Senior Open to share the lead with Canadian Phil Jonas.
The 55 year old had seven birdies on a flawless card, five of them coming consecutively from the first hole – his tenth – to surge ahead of Englishman Jamie Spence and Dane Steen Tinning, who shot 66.
It could have been even better, as the diminutive Welshman afterwards admitted he missed three putts from inside four feet on the stunning Open course at WINSTONgolf in Germany.
“It could have been a very low one,” said Woosnam, whose last win came in the 2011 Berenberg Masters, also played in Germany. “But I can’t really complain about a 65 and I played very well overall. The later you play the bumpier the greens become, and there was a little moisture on them late in the day. You just have to accept that.
“It was the best I drove the ball for a long time. I got a new driver last week and it has one of these new sliders on it. It’s taken me a week to get it in the right place, but now I have it’s making a massive difference – I drove the ball superbly today. It’s going longer and with more accuracy. I can fade it, draw it, you name it. My safe shot is a nice little fade that goes about 270 yards.
“I played the course for the first time yesterday. There are some tricky pins out there and you have to hit it in the right spot. And the wind is tough – some holes it made a two club difference.”
Jonas was among the morning starters, and he was delighted to set the pace having rediscovered some form.
“I haven’t been playing that well recently, so it’s nice for something good to happen,” said the 51 year old Qualifying School graduate.
“I’ve felt as though I’m starting to play better, and when I was warming up I thought there might be a hint of a low score there. But I must admit I didn’t expect it to be that good.
“I got lucky a few times, where I hit bad shots but they ended up near the hole. I putted well and made a couple of 20-footers, plus many from five or six feet. I was very solid on the greens.
“This is the first year I’ve played on this course and I like it a lot. It’s fun to play. In fact, I’ve liked every course we’ve played on the Senior Tour this season.”
The €400,000 event is played in a pro-am format, with each professional pairing up with an amateur, and Jonas added: “It’s something different and you get to meet people you wouldn’t normally meet. I’m from Canada and today I not only played with a fellow pro but two guys from Holland. It makes it interesting.”