Williams finishes strong to grab first round lead

Category: Events, News, Up Your Game

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.

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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 tricky.

“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 Wales.

“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 tournament deciders.”

Five players 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 there.

“They are 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 that.

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.


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Golf, Ian Woosnam, roman road, Wales Senior Open

About the author

Paul Williams
Paul Williams PR Manager

Paul joined the Celtic Manor Resort in 2007 having previously worked in newspaper journalism, most recently as assistant sports editor at the Western Mail in Cardiff. Responsible for all aspects of media liaison at the resort, he wishes he had more time to improve his golf handicap of 14 and polish his excruciating puns on Twitter.

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