Date: July 17, 2009
Author: PA Sport

Senden’s stunning opening

Australian John Senden, seventh reserve for The Open only a week ago and appearing to have next to no chance of playing at Turnberry, now finds himself in contention after an opening 66. Even on Sunday when he moved up to fourth alternate, the 38-year-old flew home to Texas from a tournament in Illinois because he did not think it was worth crossing the Atlantic. Then, however, compatriot Rod Pampling took a vacant spot when nobody qualified at the Scottish Open and Thomas Levet came into the field when American Brett Quigley decided not to make the trip. When Woody Austin also opted to stay in the States, Senden was up to first reserve and that was enough for him to travel – a decision that was rewarded the moment he landed on Tuesday morning when he was told that Indian Jeev Milkha Singh had pulled out injured. Adding in the fact that he missed out by three shots in the American qualifying tournament in May, no wonder there was a huge smile on Senden&aposs face after an inward 31 gave him the clubhouse lead until 59-year-old Tom Watson beat it by one. The Brisbane golfer, whose first trip to an Open was at Turnberry in 1994 after he failed to qualify at nearby Western Gailes, had a hat-trick of birdies from the 13th thanks to putts of 30, 20 and eight feet and then rolled in another from 35 feet at the long 17th. “I&aposve not played a lot of majors, but I know you really have to have your attitude at its best, play great golf and have luck on your side,” he said. Just to be playing this week makes him the luckiest man in the field.