Charles, the 1963 Open champion and regarded as one of the best putters in the history of the game, was paired with Brittany Lincicome ahead of New Zealand’s inaugural LPGA event and impressed the two-time major winner with his play.
“For a man of his young age holy cow he still has it,” Lincicome wrote on Instagram of Charles and his extraordinary round of four-under 68 at the Windross Farm course.
New Zealand website stuff.co.nz spoke to Charles after the round, the man himself seeming less taken with his own feat than everybody else.
"I was pretty happy with my round," the understated left-hander told the website.
"What I enjoyed more than anything today was playing a short course. [Brittany] was driving it 50 yards past me but I was still hitting nine-iron into 50 per cent of the holes and that's why I made so many birdies, I was hitting short irons into greens and, of course, that is my game."
It’s not the first time Charles has shot under his age, the winner of more than 70 professional titles worldwide regularly achieving the feat in recent years.
Five years ago at the European Senior Tour’s Bad Ragaz Open in Switzerland, the then 76-year-old beat his age by 10 strokes with a 4-under 66.
“I have never got anywhere near that figure before,” he said of that round at the time.
“It’s quite remarkable really. I hope it’s a record. I have had some great days in my career and this is one of them.
“I felt young again. My putting certainly reminded [me] of the days of my youth. I hit a lot of good shots and never missed any short putts and that was the secret really.”
Charles also hit the ceremonial opening tee shot for the tournament this morning as the first LPGA event to be played in New Zealand got underway.
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