(Reuters) – John Daly rolled back the years on Thursday with an error-free eight-under-par 64 in his opening round at the Czech Masters to grab a share of the lead with Ryder Cup hopeful Thomas Pieters, England’s Callum Tarren and Malaysia’s Gavin Green.
American Daly, a former British Open and U.S. PGA champion who has failed to make the cut in a major since 2012, started strongly at the Albatross Golf Resort with birdies on his first three holes before adding two more to turn in five under.
The 52-year-old, nicknamed “Long John”, birdied three more times on the back nine to equal the course record, showing that his booming drive is still a powerful weapon.
Belgian Pieters, who has battled illness this week, opened with successive birdies and played the course in clinical fashion to put forward his claim for a place in Europe’s Ryder Cup team.
The 26-year-old needs a good showing in Prague to press his case for a wildcard from captain Thomas Bjorn for the Ryder Cup, which begins on Sept. 28 at Le Golf National in Paris.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)