Watson leads U.S. Senior Open at 66

Tom Watson nearly shot his age in the first round of the U.S. Senior Open, posting a 4-under-par 66 to take a one-stroke lead over six players at Del Paso Country Club in Sacramento, where the temperature soared past 100 degrees.

The 65-year-old Watson, who has won six major titles on the Champions Tour after claiming eight on the PGA Tour, was bogey-free at 5-under until carding a double bogey 6 on the 16th hole and then missed a downhill 35-foot birdie putt on the final hole.

“Man, did I want to make that putt,” said Watson, the greatest golfer to come out of Stanford before Tiger Woods. “I was grinding on that putt more than any putt in a long time. Shoot my age in a U.S. Open championship? That would have been pretty special.

“I didn’t play that well on the first nine (shooting 34). I struggled on the practice range. I did not warm up well. It was a very, very bad warm-up session, just awful, and I said, ‘All right, let’s go out and just keep on trying to do what you were doing yesterday.'”

Michael Allen of San Mateo and Nevada-Reno carded six birdies but also had a double bogey 6 on the eighth hole and a bogey on the 16th to post a 67 and was tied for second with two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen, Woody Austin, Jim Carter, Jeff Hart and P.H. Horgan.

Defending champion Colin Montgomerie of Scotland had a 68 to tie for eighth with Scott Dunlap, local favorite Kevin Sutherland of Sacramento and Fresno State, Barry Lane of England and Kiyoshi Murota of Japan.

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