Stephen Ames of Canada and Billy Andrade shot 5-under 65s Thursday to sit atop the leaderboard after the first 18 holes of the U.S. Senior Open in Omaha, Neb.
Wes Short Jr. fired a 66 and is one shot back, alone in third at Omaha Country Club.
Two shots behind are Champions rookie Alex Cejka of Germany, winner of two of the first three majors, and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson, who both shot 67s.
Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain and Fran Quinn are T6 three shots back after carding 68s. Eight players are T8 at 1 under.
2019 champion Steve Stricker opted to play the PGA Tour stop in the Quad Cities rather than defend his title.
Ames carded four birdies on the back nine en route seven on the day against two bogeys, including No. 17.
“Like a lot of players have noticed it’s an endurance test this week with all the walking and the hills and everything,” Ames said. “So we decided to take it very easy this week, and luckily for us, the weather’s changed and the cold front has come through and made it nice. It was very pleasant this morning, which was very comfortable to play and a lot of fun to play.”
Andrade turned in a clean card after starting his round on the back nine. He ended with five birdies on the day.
“It was kind of stress-free. I hit the ball fairly solid today, kept it in play, didn’t have too many hiccups, didn’t miss too many fairways,” Andrade said. “Missed a couple, but overall ecstatic with my start.
“This golf course, I feel like I’m in pretty good shape, so I’m looking forward to the next three days.”
Cejka is stalking the leaders after posting a solid round despite a bogey on his opening hole, the par 4 10th.
“Golf can change very quickly in both directions,” Cejka said. “Right now I’m riding the wave. I’m pretty positive in my head, hitting good shots, executing occasionally. I’m lucky, if I hit a bad shot and a get a little bit better breaks, but it’s just — so far it’s been a great run, and I hope it’s going to continue for a couple more rounds, yes.”
–Field Level Media
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