Philip Walton made an impressive start to his Senior Tour career when he opened with a two under par 69 to lie just one shot off the lead in the Mallorca Open Senior Open.
The winner of three European Tour titles and the man who secured the winning point in the Ryder Cup at Oak Hill 17 years ago, the 50-year old Dubliner was pleased with his debut as he fired three birdies and dropped just one shot at the José María Olazábal-designed Pula Golf Club.
After missing just four fairways and four greens, Walton said: “I was a bit shaky as this is my first event on the Senior Tour, but I played nicely and had a number of birdie chances.”
England’s David J Russell and Paul Wesselingh and American Dick Mast fired 68’s to lead on three under wuth Walton in group of nine players tied for fourth on two under par that also includes former Ryder Cup captains Mark James, Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam.
Jimmy Heggarty is joint 18th after a level par 71 but Des Smyth struggled on the greens as he opened with a three over 74.
Denis O’Sullivan had a triple bogey eight at the ninth and had to settle for a six over 77.
Scores after round 1 (Par 71)
68 D Mast (USA), D Russell (Eng), P Wesselingh (Eng)
69 S Torrance (Sco), M James (Eng), I Woosnam (Wal), P Fowler (Aus), A Franco (Par), J Quiros (Esp), P Walton (Irl), J Gould (Eng), M Moreno (Esp)
70 D Hospital (Esp), T Thelen (USA), A Oldcorn (Sco), G Wolstenholme (Eng), M Harwood (Aus)
71 R Chapman (Eng), J Heggarty (Nir), M Farry (Fra), C Mason (Eng), B Lane (Eng), T Elliott (Aus), B Cameron (Eng)
72 D Cambridge (Jam), J Sallat (Fra), S McAllister (Sco), E Rodriguez (Esp), J Hall (Eng), B Longmuir (Sco), A Takamatsu (Jpn), R Gibson (Can), A Sherborne (Eng)
73 R Drummond (Sco), P Mitchell (Eng), K Spurgeon (Eng), G Manson (Aut), C Williams (RSA)
74 G Brand (Eng), G Banister (Aus), J Rivero (Esp), G Brand Jnr (Sco), E Darcy (Irl), A Forsbrand (Swe), S Van Vuuren (RSA), C Bolling (USA), D Smyth (Irl), S Bennett (Eng), S Cipa (Eng)
75 M Mouland (Wal), M Cunning (USA)
76 T Johnstone (Zim), D Durnian (Eng), J Harrison (Eng), D Wettlaufer (Can), M Belsham (Eng), G Ryall (Eng), M Piñero (Esp)
77 J Chillas (Sco), T Burgoyne (Sco), T Charnley (Eng), D O’Sullivan (Irl), J Cañizares (Esp)
78 J Rhodes (Eng), V Garcia (Esp), M Bembridge (Eng), G Ralph (Eng), M Martin (Esp)
79 A Garrido (Esp), G Cali (Ita)
80 N Job (Eng)
84 F Fuentes Lopez (Esp)