Date: April 13, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Senden returns in vintage form

Barely missing a beat after a year away, John Senden returned in style to the US PGA Tour today.

Senden, 46, carded an opening two-under-par 69 at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina to immediately leap back into the top 20 after his extended absence as his son Jacob battled a brain tumour.

He has played competitively just once in the interim, missing the cut on the Web.Com Tour’s Louisiana Open last month after Jacob was given some encouraging news by his medical team.

Remarkably, the evergreen Senden did not card a bogey today to sit just adrift of fellow Queenslander Cameron Smith who kept up his Masters form with a fine 68.

The pair are prominent on a crowded leaderboard with only the runaway Rory Sabbatini clear at seven under through round one.

Of the other Aussies in South Carolina, Marc Leishman fought back from an early triple bogey to sign for a one-over 72 that was poised to be far worse when the Victorian turned in 39 after starting on the back nine.

But three front-nine birdies enabled him to join Rod Pampling in a share of 69th.

Victorians Geoff Ogilvy and Aaron Baddeley shot 73 to be two over, while WA's Greg Chalmers is five over.