• Senior Open Championship

Sauers shines among the seniors

ESPN staff
July 26, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Gene Sauers on his way to a first-round lead © Getty Images
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  • Gene Sauers -3

    Bernhard Langer, Peter Senior, Frankie Minoza, David Frost -2

    Corey Pavin, Gary Hallberg, Jeff Hart, John Cook, Peter Fowler - 1

Gene Sauers mastered a stiff breeze to shoot a 3-under 67 for a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Senior Open Championship at sunny Royal Birkdale.

The 50-year-old American had all pars on the front nine for a 34 and then birdied the 10th and bogeyed the 11th. His three successive birdies from the 15th left him at 33 for the back nine.

"I hit a lot of solid shots in the wind, so it didn't really mess with me too much," Sauers said. "I'm really pleased with the way I played. This is only my third British Open and it's a great privilege and honor to be here."

Four players were at 68, among them 2010 British Senior Champion Bernhard Langer who birdied three of his last four holes. "I was very pleased with my long game and finally the putter started working at the end," he said. He was joined by David Frost, Peter Senior and Frankie Minoza. Only 10 of the 144 players bettered par.

At 69 were former US Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin and fellow Americans Gary Hallberg, John Cook and Jeff Hart as well as Australia's Peter Fowler.

Defending champion Fred Couples and Mark O'Meara, who won the 1998 British Open at Birkdale, shot 74s. Colin Montgomerie, their playing partner and a senior rookie, was two strokes better.

Tom Kite, Steve Pate, Mark Wiebe, Rocco Mediate, Steve Jones and Tom Pernice Jr. were among a large group at 70 along with Scotland's Sandy Lyle, Ireland's Mark McNulty and New Zealand's Greg Turner.

Associated Press material was used in this report

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