Canadian Rick Gibson set the pace in the first round of the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open with a fine seven under par 63.
The 52 year old carded eight birdies and a bogey to take an early lead at the stunning Golf Club Bad Ragaz in the Swiss Alps, one shot ahead of American Gary Rusnak.
Gibson, who is chasing his first win on the European Senior Tour, said: “I had a chip-in and also holed three putts from the fringe, so I had four holes with zero putts which always helps your score. I’ve been putting really well this week and in the pro-am, so it was good to keep that going today and post a good number.
“It’s a beautiful place here and the course is in great nick. It was pretty windy this morning, and to be honest if you’d told me this morning that I’d shoot seven under par I’d have thought you were mad. But I coped well in the breeze and it’s always pleasing to see some putts roll in.
“Gary Rusnak also played really well in my group, so we were spurring each other along and taking it in turns to make birdies. It was good fun and hopefully I can keep it going over the weekend.”
Rusnak had a flawless card over the 6157-yard, par 70 course, and was equally complimentary about his playing partner.
“Rick got off to a flying start and it took me a little longer to get going,” said the 51 year old, who is playing his first season on the Senior Tour having come through the Qualifying School. “I birdied the fifth and the ninth, which are probably the two toughest holes on the front nine. I holed a 60ft putt for birdie on the ninth, which was unexpected, and that really kick-started my round and I then birdied ten, 11 and 12.
“So it’s a great start. It definitely helps when you both play well. It kind of spurs you on when you see the other guy doing so well and it frees you up to do the same.
“I played awfully in the first round of the last event and then pretty well after that. I’m always better after a run of events and I still feel a bit rusty, but when you putt like I did today you get some momentum going and it’s always nice to shoot 64. It’s a beautiful place here too, so that’s quite inspiring as well.”
Scotland’s Ross Drummond returned a five under par 65 in the afternoon, while Australian Peter Fowler opened with a 66 and Englishman Jamie Spence signed for a 67.