“Last year there were 40 mile per hour winds and horrible weather, but today was sublime. It’s great to get a good score on the first day, because it puts you in a position where you feel involved in the tournament straight away,” he said.
While he flies an English flag, Williams is originally a South African and he was excited to compete with David Frost, who shot level par on day one.
“I come from Liverpool, but I grew up in South Africa,” said Williams. “To be up there with great names like Bernhard Langer and David Frost is great and hopefully I can carry on with the way I’ve been playing.”
The benign conditions allowed him to score well during the first round and he took advantage, adding birdies at the second, fourth and sixth to turn on three-under-par.
Nine straight pars over the back stretch meant the 55-year-old reached the clubhouse tied for the lead, but his scorecard didn’t reveal just how well he played on day one.
“I started very well, but today was all about chipping and putting. I think it was one of my best days for putting in a long time, and on the back stretch I only hit four greens, but I saved myself from everywhere,” he said.
The Senior Open Championship has set up a fair test in Wales this week and the course will only get tougher as the tournament progresses. Williams set out for a good tournament and will continue to manage the course and avoid trouble.
“The grass on the greens is drying out and the fairways are like ice rinks. The course is playing very difficult and hopefully I can keep my head down and get the job done and have a chance on Sunday,” he said.
Senior extraordinaire Langer led at the close of round one. He was a solid favourite coming into the week and, as expected, went deep in the prime conditions, carding an opening 65 for the sole lead.
“We had obviously the best part of the day, which helps,” he said. “When the wind plays down the last sort of six or seven holes, it really makes a difference. It was pretty solid and I didn't do a lot of things wrong.”