Notes: Langer's 64 matches best start at Senior BritishJuly 26, 2012
Champions Tour staff
Weather: A mix of sun and clouds and pleasant conditions with highs in the low-to-mid 60s. The winds were from the WSW at 5-10 mph.
TURNBERRY, Scotland -- Bernhard Langer took advantage of near-perfect scoring conditions on Thursday morning, posting a bogey-free 6-under 64 to claim the first-round lead at the 2012 Senior British Open Championship at Turnberry. Langer, who won this event in 2010 at Carnoustie, carded scores of 3-under 32 on both the front and back nine to grab a one-stroke margin over Mark McNulty, a runner-up in this event three years ago. A half-dozen players are two strokes back, including 1996 British Open champion Tom Lehman.
• Langer's bogey-free 6-under 64 matched the best first round in tournament history (Fred Funk/2009) and it also matched his low round in a major championship on the Champions Tour. Langer fired a third round 6-under 64 at the recent U.S. Senior Open in Michigan.
• Both Langer and McNulty posted bogey-free rounds.
• Lehman's 4-under 66 gave him 19 consecutive rounds of par or better, the longest streak on the Champions Tour this year.
• Funk and Lehman each hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation on Thursday to lead in that category and Funk also led in Driving Accuracy, hitting 13 of 14 fairways.
• Michael Allen had one of the day's best finishes. A two-time winner in 2012, Allen finished eagle-birdie to eventually finish T3 behind Langer and McNulty. He made a 65-foot putt for an eagle on No. 17 and then sank a 10-footer at No. 18 for a birdie.
• Russ Cochran, the 2011 champion, was unable to defend his title due to a back problem which also forced him to withdraw from last week's British Open. Cochran is the second Champions Tour player this year unable to defend a 2011 crown. Tom Watson was forced to miss the Senior PGA Championship in May due to a pinched nerve in his neck.
• Veteran Dick Mast certainly enjoys playing at Turnberry. Mast finished third here in 2006, his best showing in three appearances in this tournament. On Thursday, he opened with a 4-under-par 66 and is T3. Mast was the medalist at the European Senior Tour's Qualifying Tournament last fall but has played primarily on the Champions Tour this year with eight starts on his resume with a pair of top-15 finishes. He qualified for this tournament last Monday at Kilmarnock.
• Gary Player was forced to withdraw from the tournament prior to the start with a neck injury. The 76-year-old Player is a three-time winner of this event, including a pair at Turnberry in 1988, '90.
• Roger Chapman, the winner of both the Senior PGA Championship and the recent U.S. Senior Open, shot a 2-over 72 on Thursday and is currently T66.
• Scotland's Andrew Oldcorn made an eagle on the par-4 third hole, using a 6-iron from 177 yards.
• Loren Roberts, who won this tournament the last time it was played here in 2006, fired a 2-under 68 and is T12.
• Watson opened with a 1-under 69 in his 10th start in the tournament. He won Senior British Open titles in 2003, '05, & '07 and is the all-time leading money winner in the event with $1,120,092.
• The most difficult hole was No. 5 with an average score of 4.472 (+.472). There were just 10 birdies on the 479-yard, par-4 hole. There were 57 bogeys and nine doubles.