Smyth in Senior Open mix

By Brian Keogh

Des Smyth led the Irish charge as Nick Faldo grabbed a share the lead in the Senior Open at rain-lashed Muirfield.

Six-time major winner Faldo, 50, fired a three under par 68 to lead by one alongside Nick Job, Gordon J Brand and American Dave Stockton.

But Smyth is well place after a one-under par 70 left him alongside the likes of Tom Watson and Mark McNulty in a share of 11th place.

After hitting four birdies and three bogeys, Smyth said: "When it wasn't windy it wasn't too bad. But it was quite difficult with the rain and the wind that blew up with it later.

"Overall I'd take 70 around here. The key to links is big wind and we didn't get any big wind today. I think the scoring will be pretty good if the weather stays like this.

"Even though it is uncomfortable with the rain, it allows you to play golf."

Twice an Open winner at Murifield, Faldo said: “I was very surprised. I was trying to do the best I could, trying to find a routine and I was able to do it."

It was a disappointing day for the rest of the Irish as Denis O'Sullivan shot a four over par 75, Eamonn Darcy a 77 and Ulsterman Paul Leonard an 80.