Golf: Zimmerman in the frame

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GOLF seems just a matter of affection for Bob Zimmerman, the 52-year-old former regular United States tour player from Dayton, Ohio, who nowadays works as an equipment salesman, writes Bob Rodney from Royal Lytham and St Anne's.

'I just love your British courses,' he said, and yesterday he showed it, once again, in the British Seniors' Open here.

Zimmerman, who tied for 13th place in the championship here last year, opened with a two-under-par 69 that would have been even better but for one bad shot at the 14th which cost him a six.

Liam Higgins is a shot behind and says he is as long as he was 20 years ago when he hit the record drive of 634 yards down the runway at Baldonall airfield.

The crowd pleaser was Arnold Palmer. It was not simply that he is still strong enough to make birdies back to back, as he did at the sixth and seventh, both par-five holes. It was the exciting way he made them.

BRITISH SENIORS' OPEN (Royal Lytham and St Anne's) Leading first-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 69 B Zimmerman (US); 70 L Higgins; 71 * D Horne (US), * M Sanger (US); 72 B Huggett, J Fourie (SA), H Inggs (SA), C O'Connor, * C Green, H Muscroft.

* denotes amateur.