Smyth on course for jackpot

Ireland’s Des Smyth saw his son Greg win €9.42 million in a recent Irish National Lottery and now he has a great chance to claim a €43,000 windfall of his own after carding a four under par 68 to open a one shot lead after the first round of Scottish Seniors Open over the East course at the Marriott Hotel & Country Club near Edinburgh.

The 55 year old from Drogheda in Co. Louth produced three birdies and a sensational eagle three on the 500-yard tenth to go into the second round one shot ahead of Spain’s Domingo Hospital and two in front on an international quintet comprising Scotland’s Bill Longmuir, Chile’s Angel Fernandez, Italy’s Costantino Rocca and America’s Jerry Bruner and Bob Boyd.
Local favourite Sam Torrance opened his account with a battling one under par 71 to share eighth place with Simon Owen, Jim Lapsley, Kevin Spurgeon, Peter Mitchell and 2007 European Seniors Tour Number One Carl Mason but it was a different story for 2007 Scottish Seniors Open champion José Rivero who struggled to a two over par 74 to finish back in a share of 29th place.
“Greg has been hogging most of the headlines so it would be nice to make a few of my own,” said Smyth, who has recently committed himself to the European Seniors Tour after spending six years on the Champions Tour in America where he won twice in 2005, capturing the SBS Classic and Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf
“America is no place to be when you’re playing poorly and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for most of the season. But I’ve been working hard on flattening my swing and today was an awful lot better.
“I started fast with birdies on the third and the fourth but the highlight of the day was a 238-yard 3-wood to within four feet of the pin on the tenth.
“That’s as good a shot as I can hit and it’s certainly one of the best I’ve had for a while.”
Smyth’s nearest challenger is 50 year old Spaniard Domingo Hospital who once worked as a commercial pilot on the Costa del Sol while struggling to get onto The European Tour back in the 1980s. He finally made it when he became the Tour’s oldest rookie at the age of 34 and this year in his maiden season on the Seniors Tour he has already claimed a second place behind Ian Woosnam at the Parkridge Polish Seniors Championship and a tie for third at the Azores Seniors Tour.
“It’s great to be out here on the Seniors Tour and to meet a lot of people I haven’t seen for a while,” he said.
“I had to work very hard to pay the bills before I made it to the European Tour so I know how lucky I am to be here.”
Torrance pronounced himself content with his 71 but admitted it could have been a little bit better but for a bogey five at the last where he missed the green and then failed to get up and down.
“I played well but I’m disappointed that I dropped a shot at the last,” said the former Ryder Cup captain who has won several time at Dalmahoy most recently at this championship in 2006.
“When you do that it always leaves a bit of a sour taste in the mouth,” he added. 
Collated First Round Scores
68 D Smyth (Irl) ;
69 D Hospital (Esp) ;
70 C Rocca (Ita) ; A Fernandez (Chi) ; J Bruner (USA) ; B Longmuir (Sco) ; B Boyd (USA) ;
71 C Mason (Eng) ; S Torrance (Sco) ; S Owen (Nzl) ; K Spurgeon (Eng) ; P Mitchell (Eng) ; J Lapsley  (Nzl) ;
72 E Darcy (Irl) ; N Ratcliffe (Aus) ; B Marchbank (Sco) ; P Harrison (Eng) ; T Price (Wal) ; E Polland (Nir) ;
73 B Larratt (Eng) ; D Cambridge (Jam) ; B Heuchan (Can) ; G Cali (Ita) ; B McColl (Sco) ; J Quiros (Esp) ; J Hoskison (Eng) ; A Murray (Eng) ; M Bembridge (Eng) ;
74 J Rivero (Esp) ; D O'Sullivan (Irl) ; R Drummond (Sco) ; T Charnley (Eng) ; G Brand (Eng) ; A Sowa (Arg) ; T Johnstone (Zim) ; T Allen (Eng) ; B Cameron (Eng) ; G Brand Jnr (Sco) ; N Job (Eng) ;
75 T Horton (Eng) ; D Merriman (Aus) ; G Watine (Fra) ; P Dugeny (Fra) ; E Rodriguez (Esp) ; D Durnian (Eng) ; J Rhodes (Eng) ; M Gray (Sco) ; J Hall (Eng) ; M Briggs (Eng) ; J Benda (USA) ; P Oakley (USA) ; B Lincoln (RSA) ; B Stewart (am) (Sco) ;
76 G Encina (Chi) ; I Mosey (Eng) ; M Poxon (Eng) ; D Russell (Eng) ;
77 A Garrido (Esp) ; D Good (Aus) ; S Martin (Sco) ;
78 V Garcia (Esp) ; J Heggarty (Nir) ; L Carbonetti (Arg) ;
79 M Miller (Sco) ; M Piñero (Esp) ; J Chillas (Sco) ; T Rastall (Eng) ; R Carrasco (USA) ;
80 B Hardwick (Can) ; L Higgins (Irl) ;
81 B Lockie (Sco) ; J Sallat (Fra) ; H Carbonetti (Arg) ;
82 J Cañizares (Esp) ;