Glen Day eagled the last to take a share of The Senior Open Presented by Rolex lead, despite playing with a new set of clubs after his failed to arrive from the United States.
The American converted an eight-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole of the King’s Course to post a six under par round of 64 and join Stephen Ames at the top of the leaderboard at Gleneagles, following the Canadian’s bogey-free target setter earlier in the day.
Day’s closing eagle was the final stroke of a red-hot putting performance, for which he credited countryman Wes Short Jnr following a pre-tournament putting lesson in Perthshire after a period of struggle on the greens.
The leading duo are one stroke clear of a star-studded chasing pack, including past winner of The Senior Open Paul Broadhurst, 2011 Open Champion Darren Clarke, 2020 Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS winner Jerry Kelly and Kent Jones, of the United States, who progressed through a play-off in Monday Qualifying to book his spot at Gleneagles.
Three-time Major Champion Pádraig Harrington enjoyed a positive start to his Senior Open debut with a four under par round of 66, leaving him in a share of seventh place alongside six others, including fellow debutant and 2010 BMW PGA Champion Simon Khan and two-time Champion Golfer of the Year Ernie Els.
Glen Day: “I putted great. I really have to, I’ve got to give some credit to Wes Short. We are staying together this week and he gave me a little putting lesson, and for the first time, I made a lot of putts today, so that was it.
“We played late obviously. No wind. Very rarely have I ever played over here, been this calm and easy. So yeah, they are there, but you have to hit good shots. If you hit good shots and make putts, good things happen.
“I have nothing. I didn’t even get my golf clubs. I had to get another set of clubs, and this is a new putter and a driver that I didn’t hit very well. Everything is — no. I have no reason to believe I would play good today.”
Darren Clarke: “I played smart today. I had my old caddie on the bag this week which has been great. Coming off last week when I was so disappointed to play as poorly as I did as St Andrews, worked really hard. Kept trying to get ready for this week and played a lot better today.
“Today I played pretty smart. I tried to leave myself on the right side of the flag most of the time today which I did. A few other chances, misjudged the speed a few times. Out there there’s some quick putts and really slow ones going uphill into a little bit of grain, but overall pretty pleased with the way I played.”
Pádraig Harrington: “I’m happy with the score. I was very tentative. I putted well and my putter saved me most of the day. Definitely, yeah, I could have been just a little bit, I suppose, yeah I was just tentative with my iron shots particularly.
“I have a lot of different niggles and things like that. Look, I can’t do it anymore. I don’t regret that I used to do it, and it may be who I was but it definitely is not the right thing to do.
“I think I’ve learned that from now on, you know, I thought I was very poor today mentally. I ain’t going to find that on the range. Doesn’t matter what I do if I go down there; I cannot create the same competitive on that range, a flat, big field, as I can on the golf course.”
Stephen Ames: “I hit the ball nice, solid. Hit a lot of greens. Gave myself the opportunities and any time I had some long-ish putts for birdie, I gave myself some nice foot-and-a-half, two-foot putts for par. Wasn’t too stressful, let’s put it that way.
“Good scoring for sure. You still have to hit the shots on the right plateau on the greens. I think overall the golf course played fair, played nicely.”