Darren Clarke tied for lead after first round of Senior Open

Ten years after his victory at the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St. George's -- where last week's Open was held -- Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke shot a 5-under 65 Thursday to share the first-round lead with South African James Kingston at the Senior Open in Sunningdale, England.

Clarke, 52, compiled six birdies to offset one bogey at Sunningdale Golf Club, while Kingston turned in a bogey-free round.

Clarke and Kingston lead German stalwart Bernhard Langer, Argentina's Ricardo Gonzalez and Stephen Dodd of Wales (4-under 66) by a shot.

According to Golfweek, only Gary Player, Bob Charles and Tom Watson have won both the Open and the Senior Open, and Clarke could join that group if he remains on his game the rest of the week.

"Sunningdale is one of those golf courses where when you play it, you think you're going to have lots of chances and you go out and play with a card in your hand, it's a different golf course," Clarke said.

That didn't stop either him or Kingston from scoring low on Thursday. Kingston, 55, said he was recently hospitalized with COVID-19.

"I feel like I've been a little unprepared," Kingston said. "I was down with COVID and in hospital or whatever, so I don't think my preparation coming into this week is exactly what I would have liked. But when you get to a place like this and you like the golf course, it seems to just sneak into your game, and I love what I see out there."

Langer is looking to add to his record of 11 senior major titles. He birdied three of his last five holes to get to 4 under.

Eight players are tied for sixth at 3 under, including Jerry Kelly, South Africa's Ernie Els, Australia's Robert Allenby and English amateur John Kemp.

--Field Level Media

07/22/2021 20:09

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