A trio of players sit atop a bunched leaderboard on Day One at the Swiss Seniors Open as 24 golfers stand within four shots of the lead.
New Zealand's Greg Turner set the early target with his five under par 65 and was joined by England’s Barry Lane an hour later before Welshman Phillip Price added his name to the pack of front-runners in the afternoon.
Three more players finished their opening-rounds on four under par to sit in a tie for fourth place, while another seven golfers, including defending champion Philip Golding, share seventh position after three under par 67s.
Following his season-best score, Turner was pleased with the consistency of his round on the remarkably narrow fairways of Golf Club Bad Ragaz.
“Any time it’s in the red I’m pretty happy with it,” said the Kiwi. “I didn’t make any major mistakes and I made a few putts and that’s sort of the difference between shooting around par and getting it to four or five under.”
Six-time Staysure Tour winner Barry Lane showed once again why he continues to succeed on the over 50s circuit. The 58 year old carded a bogey-free front nine and kept his card clean on the inward half—adding a final birdie on the par five 16th hole.
Lane’s blemish-free score may be the result of a new approach that he and his wife, Camilla — who also caddies for him — took on the greens.
“We decided to do something a bit different today,” said the Englishman. “Camilla was lining me up on the putts, and reading them actually, and she read everyone absolutely amazingly.
“She lines me up and I try to keep my head down and just putt and get the pace right. We’re going to stick with it — it’s quite refreshing.”
Making his Staysure Tour debut, two-time European Tour winner Austrian Markus Brier, who turned 50 years old yesterday, put the rest of the over-50s circuit on notice — making five birdies and a lone bogey as he cruised to a 66 in his maiden appearance.
Day One was also highlighted by the return of the Alliance Pro-Am format, where each professional competed alongside an amateur teammate under the Stableford scoring system.
The Alliance format, which is played out over the first two days, is offered at several tournaments on the Staysure Tour International Schedule and continues to be highly rated by the amateur participants.
Ryan Howsam, founder of Staysure Insurance, who is competing in his first Alliance event, was amazed by the camaraderie that was present as he strolled the fairways with two- time Staysure Tour winner Steen Tinning and six-time European Tour winner David Gilford, who carded rounds of 70 and 69 respectively.
“It was pretty relaxed out there,” said Howsam. “The professionals were really focused, but the way they are getting the amateurs involved is fantastic. They’ve really been very friendly, and everyone is just getting on so well.”Day Two of the Swiss Seniors Open, which also represents the final-round of the Alliance Pro-Am tournament, will begin tomorrow at 8:00 am local time.
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