Left-hander Bob Charles rolled back the years to trail leader Alan Tapie by just four shots in the Irish Seniors Open at windy Ballyliffin.

The wine-loving 72 year old beat his age by a shot with level par 71 leaving him alongside tournament favourites Des Smyth, Sam Torrance and Costantino Rocca in a share of sixth place.

American Alan Tapie, 59, took advantage of sunny conditions in the first match of the day to fire a superb, four-under par 67 and lead by two strokes from Italy’s Giusppe Cali and Argentina’s Luis Carbonetti.

But as the wind roared, Scot Sandy Lyle crashed to a 73 and Welsh ace Ian Woosnam struggled with a hip injury for a 76 as Charles dug deep to card a vintage round he put down to a life of clean living.

Open champion in 1963, Charles beamed: “Moderation is my motto. I don’t go to excess on anything. I have a glass of white and a glass of red in the evenings, sometimes I have two glasses of red.

“I drink wine and water, nothing else. I think tea and coffee are more poisonous than anything else.”

Just five players in the 75-man field broke par with Argentina’s Alfonso Barrera and England’s Gordon J Brand firing one-under par 70s to share fourth place.

Smyth leads the 11-strong Irish challenge on level par with Denis O’Sullivan a shot further back on one-over after a bogey at the par-five 18th forced him to sign for a 72.

After a round that featured three birdies and three bogeys, Charles said: “I think it’s a lovely golf course but I hate playing in such lousy weather. It’s rained every day and the wind hasn’t stopped blowing.

“It’s cold. I came here to escape the winter in New Zealand yet the winter in New Zealand is probably better than this.”

Waterville's Liam Higgins is the next best of the Irish on two over par after a 74 with Eamonn Darcy near the back of the field on six-over after putting "horrendously" for a 77.

Irish Seniors Open (in association with Failte Ireland and Allied Irish Bank)

Ballyliffin GC, Old Links (Par 71)

67 A Tapie (USA) ;

69 G Cali (Ita) ; L Carbonetti (Arg) ;

70 G Brand (Eng) ; A Barrera (Arg) ;

71 B Charles (Nzl) ; M Piñero (Esp) ; D Good (Aus) ; J Quiros (Esp) ; S Torrance (Sco) ; C Rocca (Ita) ; N Job (Eng) ; K Tomori (Jpn) ; S Owen (Nzl) ; B Longmuir (Sco) ; D Smyth (Irl) ;

72 J Bland (RSA) ; A Sowa (Arg) ; B Cameron (Eng) ; J Chillas (Sco) ; D Merriman (Aus) ; T Charnley (Eng) ; D Russell (Eng) ; D O'Sullivan (Irl) ;

73 L Higgins (Irl) ; B Heuchan (Can) ; J Hoskison (Eng) ; D Cambridge (Jam) ; S Lyle (Sco) ; A Garrido (Esp) ; E Rodriguez (Esp) ; T Rastall (Eng) ; B Lincoln (RSA) ; A Murray (Eng) ; J Rhodes (Eng) ; T Giedeon (Ger) ; R Drummond (Sco) ; J Sallat (Fra) ;

74 P O'Hagan (Irl) ; B Larratt (Eng) ; H Carbonetti (Arg) ; A Franco (Par) ; K Spurgeon (Eng) ; E Polland (Nir) ; T Johnstone (Zim) ; T Allen (Eng) ; S Ginn (Aus) ; P Dugeny (Fra) ; J Rivero (Esp) ; E McMenamin (am) (Irl) ;

75 T Gale (Aus) ; G Encina (Chi) ; A Fernandez (Chi) ; S Ebihara (Jpn) ; M Poxon (Eng) ; C Mason (Eng) ; G McGimpsey (am) (Nir) ;

76 J Heggarty (Nir) ; J Hall (Eng) ; D Hospital (Esp) ; T Price (Wal) ; I Woosnam (Wal) ;

77 B Boyd (USA) ; M Miller (Sco) ; J Benda (USA) ; E Darcy (Irl) ; M Bembridge (Eng) ; P Leonard (Nir) ; P Teravainen (USA) ; V Smyth (am) (Irl) ;

78 P Oakley (USA) ; J Bruner (USA) ;

80 I Mosey (Eng) ; M Gray (Sco) ;

83 G Hopkins (USA)