After leading for much of the day, Ireland’s Darren Clarke was overtaken by Scot David Drysdale and Sweden’s Johan Edfors at the Barclays Scottish Open today.
They now share the lead after the first round at Loch Lomond, with Clarke one shot further back.
Edfors, however, has said that a 61-year-old might beat them both to the title this week.
Edfors, chasing a third victory of the season, returned a six under par 65, but marvelled at the performance of his playing partner, three-time US Open champion Hale Irwin.
The American, who decided to play the event rather than one of the US Seniors Tour majors, was two over with five to play, but then birdied them all for a 68.
Irwin is a staggering 13 years older than the oldest winner in European Tour history – Irishman Des Smyth – but Edfors said: “He can still win this.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better display with long irons and fairway woods. He’s getting shorter off the tee, but every shot was straight at the flag. It was pretty impressive – amazing.”
Irwin won his first US Open way back in 1974 before Edfors was even born and captured the last of them in 1990 when he was 45. He remains the oldest winner of that trophy and since then has earned a record £16m (€23.24m) in seniors golf.
As for Edfors, he had never done a thing really on the European Tour until this year. But what a year it is turning out to be.
The 30-year-old, who entering 2006 was 410th on the world rankings and had just made his seventh visit to the tour qualifying school, captured the TCL Classic in China in March and two months ago added the British Masters at The Belfry.
Aside from those two wins he has not had a top 10 finish, but the £400,000 (€581,031) first prize on Sunday could take him to 10th in the Ryder Cup table.
Irish golfer Damien McGrane is well-placed, tied for ninth on three under par. Paul McGinley is joint 23rd, just four shots off the lead.
Collated first round scores and totals of the European Tour Barclays Scottish Open, Loch Lomond, Scotland:
(Gbr and Irl unless stated, par 71 (x) denotes amateurs)
65 Johan Edfors (Swe), David Drysdale
66 Darren Clarke, Miles Tunnicliff
67 Jose Maria Olazabal (Spa), Raymond Russell, David Bransdon (Aus), Andrew Butterfield
68 Jyoti Randhawa (Ind), Steven O’Hara, Jose-Filipe Lima (Por), Damien McGrane, Jose Manuel Lara (Spa), Garry Houston, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra), Luke Donald, Carl Pettersson (Swe), Jamie Donaldson, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa), Wade Ormsby (Aus), Hale Irwin (USA), Barry Lane
69 David Howell, Gary Clark, Simon Khan, Tom Lehman (USA), Marcel Siem (Ger), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa), Tim Clark (Rsa), Gregory Havret (Fra), Jonathan Lomas, Paul McGinley, Paul Broadhurst, Lee Westwood, Bradley Dredge, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel)
70 Mark Foster, Scott Henderson, Stephen Gallacher, Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind), Retief Goosen (Rsa), Ian Poulter, Paul Lawrie, Richard Sterne (Rsa), David Lynn, Steven Jeppesen (Swe), James Kingston (Rsa), Robert-Jan Derksen (Ned), Simon Dyson, Ernie Els (Rsa), Jason McCreadie, Simon Wakefield, David Griffiths, Sam Little, Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Jamie Spence, Peter O’Malley (Aus), Richard Finch, David Carter, Daniel Vancsik (Arg)
71 Mattias Eliasson (Swe), Sergio Garcia (Spa), Peter Gustafsson (Swe), Maarten Lafeber (Ned), David Higgins, Michael Hoey, Benn Barham, Jean-Francois Lucquin (Fra), Alastair Forsyth, Peter Fowler (Aus), Darren Fichardt (Rsa), Kenneth Ferrie, (x) Edoardo Molinari (Ita), Emanuele Canonica (Ita), Phillip Price, Angel Cabrera (Arg), Graeme McDowell, Ian Garbutt, Richard Bland, Richard McEvoy
72 Chris Doak, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Gary Evans, Tom Whitehouse, Thomas Bjorn (Den), Colin Montgomerie, Andrew Oldcorn, Francois Delamontagne (Fra), Mardan Mamat (Sing), Tim Petrovic (USA), Graeme Storm, John Bickerton, Peter Hedblom (Swe), Andrew McLardy (Rsa), Joakim Haeggman (Swe), Gary Emerson, Andres Romero (Arg), Phillip Archer, Brett Rumford (Aus), Thongchai Jaidee (Tha), Wayne Riley (Aus), Shiv Kapur (Ind), (x) Richie Ramsay
73 Matthew Millar (Aus), Anthony Wall, Leif Westerberg (Swe), Jean-Francois Remesy (Fra), Philip Golding, Mikael Lundberg (Swe), Robert Coles, Mark Roe, Andrew Marshall, Sandy Lyle, Nick Dougherty, Stephen Dodd, Marc Cayeux (Zim), Steve Webster, Christian Cevaer (Fra), Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha), Soren Hansen (Den), Alessandro Tadini (It), David Park, Miguel Angel Martin (Spa)
74 Jarmo Sandelin (Swe), Fredrik Jacobson (Swe), Sam Torrance, Eduardo Romero (Arg), Greg Owen, Marc Warren, Fredrik Widmark (Swe), Peter Lawrie, Anders Hansen (Den), Kevin Stadler (USA), Oliver Wilson, Marcus Fraser (Aus), Francesco Molinari (Ita), Joakim Backstrom (Swe)
75 Warren Abery (Rsa), Stuart Little, Ariel Canete (Arg), Jean Van de Velde (Fra), (x) Glen Campbell, Gary Murphy, Andrew Coltart, Cesar Monasterio (Arg), Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg), Gary Orr, Ross Fisher
76 Scott Drummond, Carl Suneson (Spa), Chris Kelly
77 Peter Hanson (Swe), Michael Kirk (Rsa)
78 Marten Olander (Swe)
79 Ben Hayes (USA)
80 Mark Hensby (Aus)
Withdrew: Fred Couples (USA).