Kingston tops Senior Open leaderboard after opening 5-under

James Kingston had a perfect start to the Senior Open Presented by Rolex at Sunningdale Golf Club in Berkshire on Thursday as he carded a bogey-free five-under-par 65 to take a share of the first-round lead.

Two birdies on the opening nine, and three on the homeward nine saw him home at the top of the leaderboard together with Darren Clarke. They were a shot ahead of Welshman Stephen Dodd, Bernhard Langer of Germany and the Argentine Ricardo Gonzalez. Eight players shared sixth place after the first round, including Ernie Els.

The 55-year-old Kingston kept his hand in with regular appearances on the Sunshine Tour earlier in the year as the 2007 South African Open champion found it difficult to get onto the PGA Tour Champions in the United States as the Legends Tour in Europe was yet to get its busy season underway.

His performance in the opening round at Sunningdale certainly made the case for him to be given some sort of exemption into the big-money events in the United States – something that a victory this week will sort out.

Els had five birdies and two bogeys in his round, while Chris Williams and David Frost were the next best of the South Africans in the field with their two-over 72s. Another South African Open champion, Clinton Whitelaw, who won in 1993, was on three-over.

Retief Goosen was withdrawn after he was identified as a close contact of his son and caddie, Leo, who tested positive for Covid-19.

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