Australian co-leader at U.S Senior Open

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Australian co-leader at U.S Senior Open

Richard Green and Japan’s Hiroyuki Fujita have sailed through the first round to share the lead at the U.S Senior Open with matching scores of 63 at Newport Country Club.

The Australian and Fujita are one shot ahead of American Billy Andrade and two clear of fourth-placed Canadian Stephen Ames after signing seven-under scorecards on Thursday.

Andrade played in the afternoon while Ames, the best player on the PGA Tour Champions so far this season, made inroads with a five-under 65.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer of Germany had three bogeys and three birdies to finish even par. Langer is competing less than five months after surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon.

Green felt he was primed for a great round after getting comfortable in practice rounds.

“My strategy off the tee and strategy into the greens, you know, my putting ability at the moment is working very nicely,” he said. “So I’m kind of not surprised a little bit that I’ve had a good round.”

Green carded birdies on the first two holes and got rolling at No.10 with three consecutive birdies. He birdied 18 to secure the tie with Fujita with a score of 31 on the back nine.

Fujita credited his good fortune on Thursday and didn’t anticipate a score of 63 at the U.S Senior Open when asked if he was feeling good about his game coming into the first round.

“Not at all. Today was lucky, and I struggle with shots every day, but today was lucky,” Fujita said.

Fujita birdied the par-5 first and was four-under by the time he reached the No.7 tee thanks to seven total shots on Nos.4-6. He birdied five holes on the front for a 30 going out and added two more on the back nine without a bogey.

Andrade birdied three of his first four holes on his way to a bogey-free round.

“Getting off to a good start is what we all want. We strive for that every time we play,” Andrade said.

Last week’s winner at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open, Padraig Harrington, is among a big group tied at four-under 66 which includes Australian Matthew Goggin.

“Wind got up a little bit at the end, but even then it wasn’t hampering us. I think we got the best of the day for sure,” Harrington said. “It was a very, very good morning for scoring. I know myself, I had a very poor ball-striking day.” 

Stuart Appleby and Rod Pampling are also in the mix, with the Australians just four behind the leaders. 

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