Ayrshire, Scotland – Bernhard Langer fired a 6-under 64 on Thursday to take the first-round lead of The Senior Open Championship at Turnberry.
Langer, a 2-time Masters champion, is one stroke clear in his bid for a second Senior Open title. When last we saw Langer, he blew a final-round lead at the U.S. Senior Open.
"It still hurts and it's going to hurt a while," admitted Langer. "That's golf. Roger (Chapman) played a great round of golf and I can't take that away from him. It was my tournament to win or to lose, and I just didn't perform well enough on Sunday."
Mark McNulty posted a 5-under 65 and is alone in second place.
Tradition winner Tom Lehman, Michael Allen, Chien Soon Lu, Dick Mast, David Frost and Jay Don Blake are knotted in third place at 4-under 66.
Chapman, who also won the Senior PGA Championship, another major on the Champions Tour, struggled to a 2-over 72 on Thursday.
Langer started brilliantly with two birdies in his first three holes. After three straight pars, the German Hall of Famer picked up another birdie at the par-5 seventh.
Langer parred three around the turn, then birdied Nos. 11 and 12. He was 5- under par for the championship and atop the leaderboard. He added a final birdie at 17, which ended up giving him sole possession of the lead. Langer saved a great par at the last for his 64.
"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. 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."
Langer won this title two years ago for his first major on the 50-and-over circuit. He followed it up the next week after a flight through several time zones landed him at Sahalee Country Club in Wash. Langer captured the U.S. Senior Open in 2010, and although Langer was never able to win The Open Championship in his storied career, he did tie for third in 1986 at Turnberry.
"It's playing very long," he said. "Someone said this course is playing longer than they played last week at The Open Championship. But I like links golf. It's just fun to hit off that kind of turf and you really have to think your way around some of these golf courses, not just hit driver, blast it away and find it and hit it again. That's what makes it so much fun."
McNulty was sterling on Thursday with three front-nine birdies and two more on the back. His birdie at the par-5 17th got him into second place by himself.
Tony Johnstone, Lee Rinker and Barry Lane are knotted in ninth place at 3- under 67.
Tom Watson, a 5-time winner of The Claret Jug, including at Turnberry in 1977, and a 3-time champion of this event, opened with a 1-under 69.
Norman, making a rare appearance on the Champions Tour, returned to the scene of his 1986 Open Championship victory. He managed only a 2-over 72 and is tied for 66th.
NOTES: Langer has 14 Champions Tour victories...McNulty's only major win on the elder circuit came at the 2007 Tradition...Joe Daley, who won the Senior Players Championship, another of this year's majors, shot an 8-over 78...This is the final major of the year...Last year's winner Russ Cochran, didn't tee it up this week with an injury.