IRISHMAN Philip Walton has taken the early lead at the English Senior Open at Rockliffe Hall this morning.

In wonderful golfing conditions in Hurworth, County Durham, Walton has birdied three of his opening six holes to sit on two-under after recovering from a bogey at the second. He is one shot ahead of a group of eight golfers.

That group includes Rockliffe’s very own European Senior Tour pro Roger Roper. He made a birdie at the Par 3 third to earn an impressive start along with Gary Wolstenholme and Andrew Oldcorn, who are also among those sitting a stroke below par.

Former US Masters champion Ian Woosnam and reigning champion Steen Tinning have just started their opening rounds, while former Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance is due to tee off at 11.10am.