The 57-year-old Vienna, Va, native, found the sun-splashed Lake Nona course to his liking on Saturday, posting a bogey-free 70 on the 6,691-yard, par-72 layout for a one-stroke lead over Arthur Kania.
Tallent, one of two players in the morning wave to better par, registered two birdies and 16 pars on a perfect day for scoring.
Another group of 78 golfers, including defending champion Marvin Vinny Giles, had afternoon starting times.
Though he feels the course is a better fit for longer-hitting players, Tallent certainly put his own talents to good use.
I hit most of the greens early on, said Tallent, a veteran of 20-plus USGA championships. I got it up and down three times at the end of the round. Saved the round.
Competing in his first Senior Amateur, the 55-year-old Kania, of Haverford, Pa., had three birdies that were offset by two bogeys.
Another familiar name sits two strokes behind Tallent. Paul Simson, 59, of Raleigh, N.C., winner of this year’ s British Seniors Open Amateur Championship and Canadian Men’s Senior Championship, shared medalist honors last year with Tallent at Beverly Country Club in Chicago. Incidentally, Simson and Tallent are grouped together for the two rounds of stroke play this year.
He’s a good friend of mine and a great player, said Tallent of Simson, who helped North Carolina share second place at the USGA Men’s State Team Championship two weeks ago at Mayacama Golf Club in Santa Rosa, Calif. I couldn’t have a better pairing than to play with him.
Joining Simson at even-par 72 are Mike Puls of Irving, Texas; past USA Walker Cup participant Duke Delcher of Bluffton, S.C.; Tim Miller of Kokomo, Ind.; Tom Knapp of Tequesta, Fla.; and William T. Doughtie of Amarillo, Texas.
Jeff Burda of Modesto, Calif., had a first round to remember, using his 7-iron to register a hole-in-one at the par-3, 153-yard 13th hole. Burda finished with a 74, joining USGA Executive Committee member Steve Smyers of Lakeland, Fla.
Stroke-play qualifying continues on Sunday, after which the low 64 scorers will advance to match play that begins on Monday. Match play continues through Thursday’s 18-hole championship match.
The USGA Senior Amateur, open to golfers 55 and over, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Christina Lance is the USGA’s coordinator of championship communications. E-mail her with questions or comments at email@example.com.