Golf: Soggy greens top the menu at tee time as the brolly brigade reign at Sunningdale

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The sun is conspicuous by its absence at Sunningdale yesterday as a competitor in the 53rd annual foursomes prepares to drive on the second tee at the new course. For David Talbot and Ross Whitehead, however, it was less a case of the shock of the new than a rekindling of the old. Talbot, now 57 and chairman of the European Seniors Tour, and Whitehead, 60 next month and playing in the event for the 41st successive year, met in the semi-finals in 1957 yet displayed few signs of diminished powers in winning their opening matches.

Whitehead, who took the title 37 years ago in partnership with Brian Huggett and again with Neil Coles in 1962, partnered Mark Litton to a 4 and 3 win over the Swindon duo, Steve Robertson and Mark Slater, yet it was Talbot who achieved the more notable feat, combining with his son, Philip, to knock out the holders, Andy Beal and Lee James, 3 and 1. 'Philip carries me round - it's quite simple,' quipped Talbot senior, a former PGA champion.

For Kitrina Douglas there was even more reason for good humour, albeit in defeat. The Solheim Cup player, who broke a foot five months ago after kicking a door, returned to competitive golf when she paired up with Jane Soulsby, but despite a spirited recovery from three down to one down, they lost 3 and 1 to the Durham- based Harrison brothers, Phillip and John. 'I was just glad to be back playing,' Douglas said.