The R&A - Working for Golf

Americans set pace at Senior Amateur

Two players lead the Senior Amateur Championship following the first round.

Americans dominate the leaderboard at the Senior Amateur Championship at North Berwick with Bob Royak and Matt Sughrue leading the way on 67.

They are a stroke ahead of two three-time former winners, fellow Americans Chip Lutz and Paul Simson with Ian Brotherston from Dumfries carrying home hopes on 69 alongside two more Americans Randy Haag and Craig Davis.

Royak makes great start

Royak from Alpharetta near Atlanta in Georgia, who has finished in a share of ninth in his two previous appearances in the Senior Amateur, got off to his best ever start at the championship.

"I've practiced for the last couple of days in the same wind as today, so it definitely helped," said the 57-year-old IT consultant.

He birdied the second, holing from 10ft and the long third with a drive and a 6-iron to 15ft, dropped a stroke at the 360 yard fifth when he three putted from 15ft, but bagged birdie fours at both the par fives, eighth and nine to be out in 34.

He put a 7-iron to six feet for a birdie at the short tenth, then dropped a shot at the short 15th when he failed to get up and down from off the green, but finished with an eagle two at the final hole, holing from 12ft after driving the green.

Sughrue, the 59-year-old sports performance coach from Arlington, West Virginia, birdied the long third when he got up and down from just off the green, then chipped in for a birdie two at the sixth.

He dropped a stroke at the seventh when he found a fairway bunker off the tee and could only wedge out sideways, but got it back at the next when he got up and down from a bunker short of the green.

"I let a stroke slip at the ninth when I three putted, but was good coming home," said Sughrue.

He holed a 40-footer for a birdie at the 425 yard 12th, from 15ft at the 14th then chipped to 3ft for another birdie at the 18th having put his drive over the back of the green.

Three time champion in the mix

Lutz, 64, from Reading, Pensylvania, winner in 2011, 12 and 16 bagged five birdies and dropped just one shot.

"I didn't play particularly well but my putter saved me," he said.

After dropping a stroke at the second he birdied the long third, holed from 10ft for a birdie at the fifth then took two putts from 40ft at the long eighth to be out in 35.

A drive and a seven iron had him on the green for a two putt birdied at the par five 11th, then he drove the 277 yard final green and two putted from 35ft to be home in 33.

"My putting saved me a couple of times on the back nine. On the 14th I drove it onto the beach, found the green with a 7-iron and took two putts from 60ft, then I raced my first putt 12ft by at the short 15th and holed the 12-footer coming back," said Lutz.

68-year-old shoots his age

Simson, winner in 06, 08 and 10, shot his age. The real estate professional from Raleigh in North Carolina, birdied the third and the eighth on the way out and dropped a shot on the seventh when he duffed a chip.

He was back at level par when he missed the green with his second at the 12th and failed to get up and down, but then sank six footers for birdies at the 13th and 16th before finishing in style with a 33ft putt for eagle at the final hole to record a round of 68.

Retired baker on a front nine roll

Sixty-three-year-old retired baker Brotherston was out in three-under par 34 with birdies at five, eight and nine, getting up and down from just off the green at the ninth.

He dropped a shot at the short tenth when he failed to get up and down but got it straight back at the 11th when he holed from 10ft. He missed from two feet to drop another shot at the 14th, then birdied the last when he again got up and down from just off the green.

Fast start for Davis

Davis began like a house on fire with birdies at the first four holes. He sank a 20-footer on the first, holed from 10ft on the second, pitched to four feet at the third and then popped in another 20-footer on the fourth.

He dropped a shot at the fifth when he missed from four feet and another at the long 11th when he got in a pot bunker and left it 45 yards short. He putted up to 10ft but missed.

"That first putt was the longest I've ever had," said the 57-year-old from Chula Vista in California, playing his first competition over here.

He birdied the 12th with a 15-footer then parred home for his 69.

Plenty of players in the mix

Haag got to five under at the turn with birdies at three, four, five and nine and an eagle at the eighth but couldn't sustain it coming home dropping shots at the tenth and the 17th.

Five Americans, Gene Elliott, third last year, Roger Hoit, Mike McCoy, Ken Bakst and Joe Palmer one Scot, John Fraser from Royal Burgess and three Englishmen Alan Mew from Stoneham in Southampton, Martin Galway from Brighton and Sunningdale's Rupert Kellock share eighth on 70.

Last year's runaway champion Trevor Foster from Accrington pronounced his performance as 'rubbish' after posting a two over 74.