SAM Torrance’s parting shot at a pre-event photo-shoot suggested he didn’t expect to be making his presence felt in the SSE Scottish Seniors Open on the course he designed at Fairmont St Andrews.
“I hope to be speaking to you again on Sunday, gents, but I wouldn’t bet on it,” he confessed.
Helped by a tip from his 81-year-old dad and lifelong coach Bob, however, Torrance is sitting handily placed after the opening round. If he can keep it going, an early present for his 60th birthday a week today could be in the offing tomorrow night.
“I played really well,” confessed the 2006 winner after signing for a two-under-par 70 to sit just two shots off a four-way tie for the lead involving Gordon Manson, who was born in St Andrews but now plays under the Austrian flag.
“I got a great tip from my dad last week,” added Torrance. “He’s amazing, the old b******!. I’ve been struggling for a while, hitting a lot of irons shots thin, and he told me over the phone what I was doing wrong.
“He said, ‘what are you doing with your left foot?’ I said it ‘is as flat as a pancake’. I’ve just got lazy over the years with my left heel.”
Torrance enioyed an instant reward, the highlight of his round being a “fabulous” 6-iron to four feet at the 11th.
“I watched the USPGA last week and [Jack] Nicklaus was talking about the modern swing,” he mused. “He said, ‘I don’t like it’. My dad always said play from the ground up and that kind of endorsed it.”
Manson shares the lead with Englishman Jamie Spence, Spaniard Miguel Angel Martin and Ireland’s Denis O’Sullivan, whose compatriot, Eamonn Darcy is in a group a shot behind along with 2009 winner Glenn Ralph.
“I’m from here and I’ve still got family here, so it seems to inspire me when I come back,” said Manson. “I feel comfortable here. I feel good in the place and relaxed, so I think it helps my game.”
Spence, disqualified in Germany last week after signing for a wrong score, bounced back with a five-birdie effort in a group that saw Bill Longmuir chip in at the last for a 70 and Andrew Oldcorn card a 72.
Due to inclement weather being predicted for today, a two-tee start will be in operation for the second round between 7 and 9am.