HOME favourite Mark Mouland battled the elements to keep himself in contention to become the first Welsh winner of the SSE Enterprise Wales Senior Open, writes Andrew Penman.

The 54-year-old from St Athans ended up with a level par round of 70 on day one of the European Senior Tour event at the Celtic Manor in Newport.

It could have been even better for Mouland who was two under par after an eagle on the ninth but bogeys on 13 and 17 left him in the chasing pack.

“I was hanging on there all day,” said Mouland. “Two under going out with a nice eagle on nine but I threw in two three-putts on the back nine, which put the mockers on it really.

“It was tough with the wind but level par is not going to be that far off the lead tonight.”

He added: “I’m knackered to be honest! I’m shattered. It’s hard work out there and very mentally tiring. I’m off home to have a glass of wine.”

Abergavenny’s Glyn Davies also bore the brunt of the Welsh weather as he suffered a difficult start to the tournament.

The 57-year-old is attached to the Twenty Ten Course at the Celtic Manor but that didn’t help him over the Roman Road Course as he carded a seven over par 77.

Davies was the first man out in the driving rain at 8am on day one alongside England’s Grant Wraith (also seven over par) and Frenchman Roger Sabarros (five over).

And the trio all struggled to get to grips with the course in very difficult conditions.

Davies hit bogeys on the third and fourth holes and a triple bogey eight on the par five fifth before play was suspended at 9.25am.

After restarting at midday, Davies finished under blue skies and sunshine at around 2.45pm but the strong wind was still a big factor.

“It was pretty brutal to start with – torrential rain, strong winds and pretty dark,” said Davies.

“The first five holes until they called us off were horrendous.

“You couldn’t hold a club and water was streaming down the fairways.

“It was very tough and it’s a shame that they didn’t hang on a couple of hours.

“I’m fortunate that I only live 15 minutes away so I could go home and get changed,” he added.

“When we came back it was still very tough with the wind but it was a relatively playable golf course – I just couldn’t afford to give the field a five-shot start here.”