Langer, Blake share early 1st-round lead at Senior British Open; Watson struggles to 74

By Graham Otway, AP
Thursday, July 22, 2010

Langer, Blake share early lead at Senior British

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Bernhard Langer of Germany and Jay Don Blake of the United States each shot a 4-under 67 Thursday to share the early first-round lead at the Senior British Open.

Langer made five birdies to go with one bogey, while Blake had six birdies and two bogeys.

“I think this is the hardest golf links course I have ever played,” Langer said. “But I played beautifully. I drove the ball well and when I did miss fairways, I had a bit of luck. I hit my iron shots pretty close — there were not many long putts out there.”

There was one long putt at the par-5, 14th hole where he chose to use his putter from off the green. He sent his 40-yard putt within six inches of the cup for a tap-in birdie.

Blake said he found his first competitive round in Scotland to be a learning experience after finding the greens unreceptive to the high-ball game he has used throughout his career in the United States.

“It’s a golf course where you can’t be aggressive,” Blake said. “Because you can’t fly the ball at flags like we are used to over in the courses we play in America. I have had to learn a whole new game, which is fun. It’s exciting but it’s tough.”

American Jeff Sluman had four birdies in his first nine holes but finished with a 69 after a double-bogey at the 10th.

Tom Watson drove within inches of Carnoustie’s Barry Burn on the 18th, and hit his next shot from an awkward stance into the water. A double-bogey 6 gave him a 74 for the round.

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