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Darren Clarke, James Kingston card 65 to share Senior Open lead

Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke and South Africa’s James Kingston cleared an opening round 65 to share the lead at The Senior Open on Thursday.

Clarke could not make the cut last week 149th Open at Royal St. George’s, but he started fast at the Sunningdale Old Course in Berkshire, England, and he made four birdies on the top nine before adding two more birds and bogey on his way back to the clubhouse. A victory for the Open Champion in 2011 would be his first Senior Major Championship victory.

“I think you have to respect Sunningdale,” Clarke said in an interview afterwards. “Here you have to play smart. It’s important to hit it on the clean field, it could be any week, but I’ve played here enough to know that there are certain flags that you go for and that there are certain flags that you do not. ‘t go for.

“And I played smart around here. I hit from the flags to the middle of the green and gave myself a few chances, and kept going in the last few holes to give myself a chance there. Did nothing in the end , but only played smart I think the winner will have to play smart this week. ‘

Kingston, who won the Senior Open Invitation in Germany last week, took part in the lead after picking four bogeys without a loss.

Elsewhere, Germany’s Bernhard Langer heads a small group of three players on a setback, tied for second place.

Four-time big winner Ernie Els also had a solid opening day with a card of a 3-under-par 67.

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