South African Chris Williams
birdied three of the last five holes,
including a chip-in from just off the green on the last, to take a two shot lead
in the opening round of the 2016 SSE Enterprise Wales Senior Open.
Williams's finishing flourish over the Roman Road Course propelled him to five under par and moved him two clear of playing partner Lianwei Zhang of China, and Englishman Malcolm Mackenzie and a congested on two and one under par.
Local hero Ian Woosnam finished on level par alongside playing partner and pre-tournament bookies' favourite Paul Broadhurst on a day of glorious sunshine at Celtic Manor.
Williams said: “I’m
very pleased, this is a testing course. The greens are very slick and the wind,
even though it dropped a little bit will make the course quite
“The wind was
calmer than during the practice round and it made two-clubs difference. The
weather was fantastic, and we’re lucky to have that weather here in
“To have two
birdies on 17 and 18 is a bonus. I was very happy to come in with those, and it
was great to chip in on the last. I do think that the last three holes will be
are tied for fourth place on two under par, including former European Tour Order
of Merit winner Ronan Rafferty and Gary Marks,
winner of Senior Tour Qualifying School in February.
“The course is
in superb condition,” Marks said. “The weather has come with it too, so it was a
great day to play golf. But there were some really treacherous putts out
probably the most challenging greens of the year – they are super-fast and
really smooth. As a result of that, no-one is getting away. There are a whole
stack of players on one and two under, and I’m happy to be amongst
Steen Tinning, a past winner at Celtic Manor at the inaugural Wales Open of 2000 on the regular European Tour, is well-placed at one under par but last year's SSE Enterprise Wales Senior Open champion, Paul Wesselingh crashed to four over par, dropping four strokes in his closing four holes.
Mark Mouland signed for a two-over 72 and fellow Welshman Paul Mayo lies four over par going into Sarturday's second round.
Tickets are available on the gate for Saturday and Sunday, priced £15 daily with free parking.