Joe Lyons (Golfweek Photo)
Ireland is taking care of business early at the Golfweek International Senior Invitational at Cartersville Country Club.
Individual leader Joe Lyons
, and his teammates have gotten out of the gates quickly, taking a three-stroke lead over the field after the first round. Lyons did much of the heavy lifting, firing a 7-under 65.
“A very special day for me, really,” Lyons told Golfweek. “We [Team Ireland] came over about a week ago. We’ve been enjoying Southern hospitality for the last week. We’ve played some great golf, played some really cool golf courses last week, getting climatized to playing off of Bermuda [grass].”
The preparation paid off for Lyons, as he hardly missed a fairway all day. The Irishman went out in 2 under with his lone bogey on the day coming on the par-4 8th hole. On his way back in, Lyons caught fire, making birdie on six of his final nine holes.
“Delighted with my day today,” Lyons said. “There’s another two rounds to go, so, I’m an amateur golfer, I shot 65 today, I could easily shoot 80 tomorrow, so I’m just going to try to enjoy today and see how it goes tomorrow.”
Helping Lyons build Ireland’s lead, team captain Karl Bornemann (T-24) carded a 2-over 74. Rounding out the trio, John Reynolds (T-44) looks to make his score count in Friday’s round after an opening 76.
On the team side, Oklahoma commands solo second place at 2 under, thanks to Michael Hughett (68) and Jon Valuck (74). Ricky Bell matched Valuck’s 74, giving the Sooner State natives plenty of momentum heading into tomorrow.
Team Michigan, South Carolina, and California share third place at 1 under par.
On the individual side of the championship, there are a handful of players looking to hunt down Lyons.
Utah’s Shane McMillan rebounded well from an early bogey to post a 5-under 67. Michael Hughett of Oklahoma used a bogey-free 11 holes to card a 4-under 68, while Jerry Gunthorpe of Michigan had an up-and-down day en route to an opening salvo of 2 under.
Four more golfers are knotted up at 1 under, with nine more players at even par.
Sharing Lyons’ sentiment, anything can happen in amateur golf, keeping the championship up in the air until it’s all said in done.
But, if Lyons and his teammates have anything to say about it, the closing ceremony and trophy presentation will be accompanied by the sweet sounds of the Irish national anthem, Amhran Na Bhfiann.
ABOUT THE International Senior Invitational
The International Senior Invitational is a multi-state
and multi country team golf tournament with
recognition for the individual stroke-play champion.
The event includes the best Senior (ages 50+)
golfers in the world with invitations based on WAGR
ranking and recent tournament performance.
Field size 44 three-man teams.
TEAM Championship: 3 players per team
represented. 2 out of 3 scores will count for each
day of play.
INDIVIDUAL Championship. The tournament is a
WAGR nationally ranked points event. The
tournament is a 54-hole stroke play championship.
View Complete Tournament Information