Senior Open: Ken Hutton beats his nerves

The main scoreboard on the 18th green during the first round of The Senior Open. Picture: Getty

The main scoreboard on the 18th green during the first round of The Senior Open. Picture: Getty

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TOWARDS the end of his 19-year stint as the club professional at Downfield, Kenny Hutton often dreamed of the day he would hear Ivor Robson announcing his name on the first tee in the Senior Open Championship.

He didn’t realise, though, that it actually happening would leave him in a state where he would have settled for getting his opening shot airborne.

“It was the most nervous I’ve ever been on a golf course,” admitted Hutton, who had only just stopped shaking when he rolled in a ten-footer on the first to avoid a double-bogey. “It just came on me when Ivor started speaking – I was fine, then not fine.”

In the circumstances, Hutton’s level-par 71 was a splendid opening effort in the biggest event of his career. Out in two-over, the PGA in Scotland captain bagged three birdies as he came home in 34. He holed from 20 feet for a 3 at the 11th then hit a “career 3-iron” from 205 yards to eight feet behind the hole for a 2 at the 12th.

Hutton, who is still attached to Downfield, secured his place in the field by finishing fourth at Ashburnham in one of the qualifiers. A new recruit to the over-50s ranks this season, he made a flying start by winning first time out in the Senior PGA Championship at Foxhills in May.

“That gave me confidence, but this is another level altogether,” he admitted. “I never played full-time during my spell as a club pro and turning 50 gave me the chance to have a go at last.”

Caddying for Hutton is his wife, Tracey, who works as a schoolteacher in Dundee. “She was 5ft 9in when we started out,” he joked of a hard stint for Mrs Hutton in the hot conditions.

Both coped well. The same again today and a big payday could be looming on Sunday.

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