Nicklaus on heels of Senior leaders

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The Independent Online

Jack Nicklaus lived up to his billing when he opened with a solid one-under-par 70 to claim a place near the top of the leaderboard during the first round of the British Senior Open at Royal County Down here in Northern Ireland.

Nicklaus, 61, started his first round in this championship with an eagle three on the first hole and then recorded birdies on the 12th and 16th to finish two shots behind the early first-round leaders, South Africa's John Bland and England's Denis Durnian.

"I suppose a 70 on the board is a pretty good score but I think I probably played a little bit better than that," Nicklaus said. "I had good chances on quite a few of the holes on the front nine but I didn't make the putts. But I can't complain."

Bland came into this championship after posting three second-place finishes in it over the last four years. The South African raced to the turn in four-under-par 31 after an eagle at the first and birdies at the seventh and ninth, but then dropped his only shot of the day on the treacherous 528-yard 18th.

The Welshman Brian Huggett posted a two-under-par 69 to sit alongside the two-time champion Bob Charles of New Zealand, England's John Morgan and Japan's Noboru Sugai.

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