Colin Montgomerie’s 6-under-par opening round is tied for the fifth-lowest score in relation to par in the first round in the U.S. Senior Open.
Montgomerie led the field in greens in regulation (16 of 18), was tied for fifth in fairways hit (11 of 14) and took just 27 putts in the opening round.
He led the field with eight birdies in the first round.
The last time Montgomerie led after the first round of a golf event in the United States was the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club.
After 22 years, Montgomerie won his first 72-hole stroke play tournament in the United States in May. He won the 2014 Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich., by four strokes over Tom Watson.
The shortest hole on the course, the 175-yard fourth, yielded 15 double bogeys (second most) and four others (tied for most) of any hole in the first round.
The 469-yard, par-4 third hole played to a stroke average of 4.48 and was the most-difficult hole in the opening round. Only 33% of the field (52 of 156 players) hit the green in regulation.
No hole played under par in the opening round. The 599-yard, par-5 14th played to a stroke average of 5.00 and was the easiest hole in relation to par.
No players had a bogey-free first round.
Jeff Wilson (1-under 70) was the only amateur of 17 in the 156-player field to break par in the first round.
Two of the top three players on the leaderboard, Marco Dawson (5-under 66, 2nd) and Mark Brooks (3-under 68, 3rd), were sectional qualifiers for the 2014 U.S. Senior Open.
Four of the 10 past U.S. Senior Open champions in the field broke par in the first round: Bernhard Langer (2010: 2-under 69), Olin Browne (2011: 1-under 70), Fred Funk (2009: 1-under 70) and Peter Jacobsen (2004: 1-under 70).
2013 U.S. Senior Open champion Kenny Perry shot a 4-over 75 and is tied for 75th. No defending champion has finished in the top-10 since Hale Irwin, who finished third in 1998.
Peter Jacobsen was the only player in the field to hit all 14 fairways in the opening round.
Three of the four semifinalists from the 1984 U.S. Amateur (also played at Oak Tree) are in the 2014 U.S. Senior Open field: Scott Verplank (4-over 75), Sam Randolph (4-over 75) and Jerry Haas (7-over 78).
Jay Haas (back injury) withdrew on Thursday morning before the start of the championship. Haas won the 2006 Senior PGA Championship at Oak Tree National. Fred Hanover (15-over 86) replaced him in the field. Darrell Kestner (heat-related issues) withdrew after 14 holes and Kiyoshi Murota (back injury) withdrew after the completion of his first round.
There was a one-hour, 17-minute suspension of play at 7:36 a.m. CDT. Afternoon starting times were delayed by one hour.
Play was called for the day at 8:54 p.m. CDT, due to darkness with three players still on the course. The second round will begin as scheduled at 7:15 a.m. on Friday.