England and Wales (South West) Region
20 Apr 17
Former Ryder Cup player Peter Baker is making a firm bid to win the Asbri Golf PGA Cornish Festival for the second time after a fault-free opening round of six-under-par 66 at Carlyon Bay.
The 49-year-old South Staffordshire Golf Club professional, who is making his seventh successive appearance in the season-opening largest pro-am in the UK, picked up five shots on the four par fives with birdies at the fourth, 10th and 15th and an eagle at the 13th, as he came home in five-under-par 32 to take a two-shot lead.
He was runner-up to Chris Gill on his debut and won the 54-hole festival in 2013. Since then he has invariably finished among the strong challengers.
The players were greeted by a glorious sunny day with the slightest of winds although some found the slick seaside greens a puzzle. Only 11 in the field of 114 professionals broke par.
Steven Richardson, another Ryder Cup man from Hayling, was the leading player at Trevose. He was out in 32 and made his fifth birdie at the par five 10th before dropping a solitary shot at the 15th.
He shares second with current European Tour player Laurie Canter (Cumberwell Park) who finished four-under at Carlyon Bay. Five birdies followed his only dropped shot at the second. He is also seeking a third successive team win.
Defending champion Paul Broadhurst (Northants County), who won the British Seniors title last year, is in contention again after a round of three-under 69 at Carlyon Bay. He made an eagle two at the 14th, four birdies and three bogeys. He is in a five-way tie for fourth.
Seniors Tour winner George Ryall (Burnham and Berrow) returned a mixed bag at Trevose. He eagled the third and made five birdies. But he dropped two shots at the 12th and added three bogeys.
Mark Searle (High Post) and Ian Campbell (Cheshunt Park) also carded five birdies while former Tour left-hander Stuart Little (Minchinhampton) came in late to make it a five-way tie with another 69 at Trevose. His score was boosted by seven birdies.
Barry Austin (Downes Crediton), Chris Gane (Lefthanded Golf at Silvermere) and Kevin Harper (East Devon) were the final players to break par on one-under 71.
The best scores at St Enodoc, traditionally the toughest of the three courses, were one-over-par 70s from Richard O’Hanlon (St Kew), Charlie Cossins (Orchardleigh), Ross Langdon (Brickhampton Court) and Paul Jones (Ashley Wood).
Richardson’s quartet leads the team section on 91, one better than Ryall’s group with Baker, Broadhurst and Jack Heginbotham (Wells) on 87.