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DEFENDING CHAMPION REYNOLDS IN TREE-WAY TIE FOR LEAD
3rd June 2010

Chris Reynolds
Chris Reynolds (Photo Tom Ward & EGU)

Chris Reynolds, (picture © Tom Ward) confirmed he won't be giving up the title without a fight after finishing the opening day of the English Men's Seniors Championship in Cumbria sharing the lead with fellow seniors international Alan Squires and Peter Bax.

All three went round the picturesque but testing Carlisle course in two-under-par 69, just a shot ahead of John Jermine, champion in 2008. They were the only players to beat par on a sunny but breezy day while one-over-par 73 was the best return at nearby Eden .

Reynolds, who won the title for the first time at Moor Park last year, wore a wide smile after running in five birdies. "I'm delighted with that," he said. "This is a great course, very fair, and with some superb short holes."

The Kent man made a great start with a birdie at the first and added another at nine to be out in 33. But he got out of position at the tenth and 11th for a couple of bogeys but birdied 12 and 14 to get back to two under. Another shot went at 15 but a two at the short 17th for his 69 in what is his first major competition of the year.

"I didn't play much over the winter and it's only been in the last few weeks that I've felt like playing again," he added. "I'd not felt like it before but this was a solid round which could have been even better. I had five birdie putts of around six feet, none of which went in."

Reynolds topped the leaderboard on his own for just a short time before Squires, playing in the championship for the first time in three years, matched his 69 with four birdies.

"I'm happy and disappointed," he admitted. "I got to three under with my fourth birdie at the 16th then I bogeyed the short 17th after firing a seven iron through the back and hitting a poor chip. But if you had offered me 69 before I teed off I'd have taken it."

Squires has come close to winning the title several times and won't need reminding of his last appearance, at Enville in 2007, when he was five shots clear going into the last round and blew it, taking seven up the last and he didn't even finish runner-up.  "That still hurts," he added, "but I'll take another 69 here on Friday and we'll see what happens."

Like Reynolds, it was Squires' first major tournament of the season and he was making a nostalgic return to Carlisle. "I haven't played here for more than 25 years," he said. "This is a lovely course and the last occasion was for Lancashire in the six-man team event."

Reynolds and Squires were morning starters and it seemed they would be unopposed until Bax, out after lunch, posted his 69 which included a remarkable front nine of 32 with five birdies, four-in-a-row from the fourth. He also picked up a shot at the ninth and the 15th but a double bogey six at the 14th proved costly.

"Despite that I'm delighted," said the 57 year old three-handicapper from Hertfordshire, whose best finish to date was joint second in last year's South East Seniors at East Sussex National.

Jermine, who wasn't able to defend the title last year as he was in his native Wales preparing for this year's Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, signed for 15 pars and two birdies in his 70.

Scores suggested conditions were even more difficult at Eden where no one matched the par of 72 let alone beat it.

Seniors international Dave Jessup, the former world speedway champion from Kent, set the target with 73, matched by Hampshire's Martin Farmer, while three players returned 74 including Andrew Carman, who finished third last year.

Play starts at 8.30am each day and admission is free. For those unable to attend, live scoring and news updates will available on the Championships Section of the EGU website, www.englishgolfunion.org .









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