Strong finish puts Oldcorn four off pace in Senior Open

Andrew Oldcorn covered Carnousties last four holes in one-under-par

Andrew Oldcorn covered Carnousties last four holes in one-under-par

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Andrew Oldcorn tamed the toughest finish in golf to lead the home challenge along with qualifier Robert Arnott after the opening round of the Senior Open.

Oldcorn, who made his debut in the event at the same venue in 2010, covered Carnoustie’s last four holes in one-under-par and, what’s more, he made a rare 2 at the 235-yard 16th.

“I can’t recall making a birdie there before,” admitted the 56-year-old after signing for a level-par 72 – four behind the pacesetter, American Woody Austin – in the tougher afternoon conditions in Angus.

“It is certainly colder now, there’s no doubt about that,” added Oldcorn, who recently ended a five-year drought with a victory in Germany. “I’m more pleased, though, that I’ve just played the last four holes in one-under. What I shot I hit in at the 16th – that was the best one I hit all the day. It was with a hybrid to eight feet – a beautiful shot.”

Out in 38 after dropping shots at the fourth and ninth, the Edinburgh man picked up his first birdie of the day at the long 14th, which, coupled with his gain two holes later, saw him home in two-under.

“I really struggled today with my irons, all of which went left,” he added. “I missed eight greens, so I needed my short game to save me.

“Due to it switching around, we had three or four different winds out there, so I am really pleased with 72. It could easily have got away from me today.”

Tartan Tour stalwart Arnott was also satisfied with the same opening salvo, even though he let three shots slip away on the final two holes. “I finished in an ambulance,” joked the 52-year-old on a day when both him and Oldcorn outscored three-time major winner Colin Montgomerie (76).