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Defending Champion Langer among Eight Sharing Lead at Senior Open Championship
A record eight players carded 5-under 65s to tie for the 18-hole lead at the Senior Open Championship. The Champions Tour major got underway Thursday on the Old Course at Sunningdale Golf Club in England.
The big group included defending champion Bernhard Langer of Germany, China's Lianwei Zhang, Spain's Miguel Angel Jiménez, and Americans Michael Allen, Bart Bryant, Marco Dawson, Lee Janzen and Jeff Sluman.
The octet shattered the previous mark of four players sharing the Senior Open's opening-round lead, which was set in both 2004 and 2007. Another three players - American Brian Henninger, Argentina's Cesar Monasterio and Welshman Mark Mouland - are another stroke back after 66s.
Langer, who won last year by a record-setting 13 strokes at Royal Porthcawl in Wales, carded six birdies and a bogey.
"I held it together well today," said the 57-year-old, who's vying to tie Gary Player and Tom Watson for the all-time record of three Senior Open victories. "My putting was pretty good. I don't feel totally comfortable with my swing yet, I'm still working on it. I think I get underneath it a bit which causes a push-fade and a pull-hook. I'm trying to improve in that area. But overall, 5-under is a good score, and I didn't make any major mistakes and kept it together."
Playing partner Jiménez also had six birdies and a bogey. The long-haired, cigar-smoking, wine-sipping 51-year-old from Malaga was pleased with his performance. "It's a good start. The target is still at the end of the week and the thing you need to do is keep enjoying it and have fun like I did today on the golf course," Jiménez said.
"I remember the golf course. At the beginning of the week, you feel like there are a few holes missing but the golf course, it's a great golf course. Its firm fairways. The greens, they are really softer than what we played yesterday and the day before in practice but the golf course, it's a very good golf course."
Remarkably, two players recorded double-eagles in the first round. England's Barry Lane holed out his 218-yard second shot on the par-5 opener to become the first player in Senior Tour history to begin a tournament with an albatross. But that didn't last long as three hours and 20 minutes later, American Steve Jones matched the feat when his 6-iron from 179 yards on the same hole found the cup.
Lane finished with a 68 and Jones a 70.
Other scores included a 68 by Fred Couples and a 71 by Jeff Maggert, who's won two majors this year on the Champions Tour. Scotland's Colin Montgomerie was in contention until he double-bogeyed the par-4 11th. The three-time major winner on the over-50 circuit ended up with a 67, the same score as Watson and six others.
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