Colin Montgomerie's quest for a second senior Major got off to the perfect start with an opening 65 which gave the Scot the lead on the opening day of the US Senior Open Championship at Oak Tree National.
Having made his Major breakthrough by winning the US Senior PGA Championship six weeks ago after so many near misses on the regular Tour, Montgomerie set about building on that success with a superb six under par at Edmond, Oklahoma.
The Scot hit 16 greens in regulation as he notched up eight birdies, including a chip in on the 16th, with just the two dropped shots for an one stroke lead over Marco Dawson, who opened with a 66.
Mark Brooks was third after shooting 68, with Montgomerie’s former Ryder Cup partner Bernhard Langer and his fellow Major Champion Vijay Singh lying in a tie for fourth after a two under 69.
His round was built on two bursts in particular as he made a hat-trick of gains from the 14th on his front nine and another three-hole birdie run on the sixth, seventh and eighth coming in.
“That got me to the position I am now,” said Montgomerie.
“You know, it's only one round. You can lose it by the first day. You can't win it, as we all say. It's going to be gruelling over the next three days. We had our coolest day, which is still very hot. It's going to be near 100 the next three days so concentration levels will be difficult to maintain for everybody out there, not just myself.
“I look forward to the challenge of trying to compete against the rest of the field, the golf course, which is superb, and also the weather conditions which are very foreign to myself and most competitors, to be honest. We don't usually play in 100 degrees. It's going to be interesting over the next three days.”
Looking back on his breakthrough on US soil in May, Montgomerie added: “The win in the PGA Seniors has given me confidence to go forward here, and it was a long time coming to win a four-round stroke play event in America. It was 22 years since I first came over here at Pebble Beach in 1992.
“It's given me a great deal more confidence in the ability to know that you've done it once so you can do it again. I'm really enjoying my time here in the Champions Tour, and these major events are no different. I really am enjoying it. I think if you're enjoying something you're really quite good at it.”
As you would expect from Langer, he played "smart" for his opening 69 to put himself very much in the hunt. Good driving set up plenty of opportunities and he is once again in the mix.
"I didn't leave myself in horrible positions," said Langer. "Never made a double bogey or something like that. So took the penalty when I had to and then created some chances with some decent shots. If I had made a putt or two I would be three or four under, but towards the end of I putted a little bit better."
Play was delayed for 77 minutes at the start of the day due to the threat of lightning, which meant that three players did not complete their round before play was suspended due to darkness.