Philip Walton is six shots adrift of Senior Tour rookie Santiago Luna and three time winner Gary Wolstenholme after the opening round of the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open in Switzerland.
Spaniard Luna is playing just his third tournament on the Senior Tour after turning 50 last November, fired a six under 64 that was matched by former amateur great Wolstenholme as Walton carded a level par 70 at Golf Club Bad Ragaz.
“I played really well today and I only missed one green,” said Luna. “I was very consistent, I put my ball on the fairways and on the greens and you need to do that here because if you miss a fairway you will have problems.”
Wolstenholme followed Luna into the clubhouse soon after with another stunning 64 which came thanks to seven birdies and a single bogey, the Englishman also carding a four under par back nine en route to a share of the lead, two shots clear.
“It wasn’t sparking stuff today from me but I read the greens really well and putted nicely,” said the six-time Walker Cup player. “I didn’t strike the ball very well so I’m going to go to the range and work that out because when I win I am usually hitting the ball well.”
Walton had one birdie and one bogey in a steady round to share 20th place with Cork’s Denis O’Sullivan tied for 32nd after a one over 71.
Des Smyth had back to back double bogeys at the fourth and fifth to turn in 38 but could only manage two birdie fours, each followed by bogeys at par threes, in a 73 and a share of 44th while Eamonn Darcy was 63rd on six over after a 76.
Luna and Wolstenholem leads by two shots from England’s Philip Golding and George Ryall and Canadian Phil Jonas, while former Ryder Cup captains Mark James and Ian Woosnam and record Senior Tour title winner Carl Mason were among the group a shot further back on three under par.
64 S Luna (Esp), G Wolstenholme (Eng),
66 P Golding (Eng), P Jonas (Can), G Ryall (Eng),
67 I Woosnam (Wal), C Williams (RSA), G Manson (Aut), C Mason (Eng), J Quiros (Esp), B Cameron (Eng), P Linhart (Esp), M James (Eng),
68 M Bembridge (Eng), K Spurgeon (Eng), A Forsbrand (Swe), B Longmuir (Sco),
69 S Cipa (Eng), N Ratcliffe (Aus),
70 P Walton (Irl), G Ralph (Eng), P Fowler (Aus), G Brand Jnr (Sco), J Bruner (USA), T Thelen (USA), A Sherborne (Eng), L Carbonetti (Arg), S Bennett (Eng), D Russell (Eng), J Lindberg (Swe), G Norquist (USA),
71 A Franco (Par), J Spence (Eng), P Wesselingh (Eng), D O’Sullivan (Irl), G Cali (Ita), R Drummond (Sco), A Murray (Eng),
72 A Fernandez (Chi), M McLean (Eng), S Van Vuuren (RSA), S McAllister (Sco), N Job (Eng),
73 R Thompson (USA), J Rivero (Esp), G Brand (Eng), M Farry (Fra), C Rocca (Ita), D Smyth (Irl), P Mitchell (Eng), P Way (Eng), S Tinning (Den), M Moreno (Arg),
74 M Cunning (USA), W Grant (Eng), A Oldcorn (Sco), J Carriles (Esp), D James (Sco),
75 M Piñero (Esp), S Brown (Eng), J Harrison (Eng), J Gould (Eng),
76 E Darcy (Irl), M Martin (Esp), G Banister (Aus), J Laforce (Can),
77 D Westermark (Swe), D Durnian (Eng),
80 D Creamer (Eng), H Schumacher (Sui), V Garcia (Esp), A Garrido (Esp)