The 64 year old opened with a 74 in tough scoring conditions on Thursday at the scenic Welsh links as Bernhard Langer raced into a first round lead  but shaved eight shots off that mark, with three birdies and an eagle on the closing hole, much to the delight of the packed galleries, with 10, 247 lining the fairways on the Glamorgan coast.

Watson has a formidable record in links golf, having won five Open Championships and three Senior Open Championships, and another good round on moving day could see the American move into striking distance of his German counterpart, Langer, who holds a seven shot lead.

“This isn’t over yet,” said Watson. “Bernhard (Langer)’s going to have to lead from the front and that’s never easy. Look at what happened to Rory (McIlroy) at The Open Championship. He had a six shot lead going into the fourth round, and that was pulled back to two. He got the win in the end, but it was close.”

He added: “If I have no bogeys, if I can continue that run, that would be good. This golf course has a lot of land mines to it and hope I can avoid them the next two days and shoot some good scores and maybe get within shouting distance.»
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