TURNBERRY, Scotland (AP) – Loren Roberts, who won three tournaments to open the season, shot a 5-under 65 on Thursday for a share of the lead in the Senior British Open.

He had the only bogey-free round of the day at Turnberry and shared the lead with Peter Jacobsen and Craig Stadler.

“I got off to a really good start to the year and have played really well off and on,” said Roberts, who began the season with victories at the MasterCard and Turtle Bay Championships and the ACE Group Classic on the Champions Tour.

Defending champion Tom Watson struggled in his return to Turnberry with a 73.

Roberts missed only one green and his longest birdie putt was from 18 feet, the other four being around the 6-foot range.

Jacobsen, whose career has been plagued by serious hip and knee injuries, set the pace when he birdied four holes in a row on his way to his 65.

With a hip replacement operation looming in the fall, Jacobsen limped off the 18th after his seven-birdie round.

Although he bogeyed the first in an unexpected downpour, his game picked up as the sun came out, sinking his four straight birdie putts – beginning with the fifth hole.

– from what he described as the “magic” 15-foot range.

“I’ve been struggling with a bad hip which is going to need some medical attention this fall,” he said. “I wasn’t sure I’d be coming, but because of this venue, I did everything could to come.”

Jacobsen, who already has had hip surgery and two operations on his right knee, has been forced to pull out of tournaments because of his chronic ailments. But he posted two victories in three seasons on the Champions Tour, both in majors. He won the 2004 U.S. Senior Open in his first season and also last year’s Senior Players Championship.

Stadler, also a two-time major winner on the seniors tour, fired his second shot from 156 yards close to the flag at 17 for an eagle to go with five birdies. Although he found two bunkers, he drove the ball well and putted consistently.

“We’ll see what the next three days bring,” the 1982 Masters champion said. “If I can make five birdies and an eagle every day, at the end of the week I should be OK.”

A stroke behind were Tim Simpson and Des Smyth, who was runner-up to Watson last year.

Simpson, in his first season among the seniors, carded an eagle and six birdies in his 66, while Smyth would have had a share of the lead but for a bogey at 16.

Bidding to win the title for the third time in four years, Watson made three bogeys and one birdie at the four holes Jacobsen birdied consecutively.

“This course is playing a little tougher than three years ago,” said Watson, who finished 17 under to win this title in 2003 and also captured one of his five British Open titles at Turnberry in 1977.

Since then, 15 bunkers have been added to the course to total 81 and Watson said he found the sand too often.

“It didn’t have all those bunkers in the way,” he said. “It is a great track and I got what I deserved today. I didn’t play very well and I hit in the bunkers too many times.”


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