TURNBERRY, Scotland -- Bernhard Langer fired a flawless 6-under-par 64 on Thursday to finish a stroke clear of the field after the opening round of the Senior British Open at Turnberry.
The 54-year-old German did not drop a shot and scored six birdies on the course where he tied for third place in the British Open in 1986. He ended one ahead of Ireland's Mark McNulty with a bunch of six players a further stroke back, including former Open winner Tom Lehman.
England's Roger Chapman, enjoying a sensational year, went in to the tournament hoping to add to his victories in the Senior PGA Championship and U.S. Senior Open, to join Gary Player as the only golfer to win all three in the same season. But the 53-year-old was left adrift after carding a 2-over-par 72, before revealing that only last-minute physiotherapy had saved him from pulling out in the morning with a stiff neck.
He also admitted to nerves from playing with legends Greg Norman and Tom Watson. Eight-time major champion Watson returned a solid 69 on the course where he won the Open in 1977 and came close to winning what would have been a fairytale victory in a play-off against Stewart Cink in the 2009 Open.
"I'm very pleased with the way I played today," said Langer. "I played smart, played well, hit some good drives, good iron shots and made a few putts, maybe even left a couple of putts out there, as well. But overall, it was very solid. No blemishes.
"The only trouble really I had was the 18th," he added. "I drove it in the fairway bunker but I had checked it out in practice.
"That bunker is maybe the only one on the whole golf course where you have a chance to reach the green. I didn't reach the green but I got close enough to get it up and down."