Four tied at Regions Tradition after Round 1
Jimenez, McCarron, Janzen, Sluman fire 7-under 65s at season's first major
May 18, 2017
By The Associated Press
- Miguel Angel Jimenez had eight birdies and one bogey on Thursday at Greystone Golf & Country Club. (Ian Walton/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Scott McCarron delivered another finishing eagle with the lead on the line.
McCarron eagled the par-5 18th hole for a 7-under 65 and a share of the opening-round lead Thursday at the Regions Tradition, the first of the PGA TOUR Champions' five majors.
Lee Janzen, Jeff Sluman and Miguel Angel Jimenez joined McCarron atop the leaderboard at Greystone.
McCarron, seeking his fourth PGA TOUR Champions victory, had a big finish.
"I called bank shot out there from 245 (yards) and just one-hopped the back of the grandstands in there about 3 1/2 feet and was able to curl that one in," he said.
His eagle on the 54th hole at the Allianz Championship in February turned a one-stroke deficit into a win.
Janzen had a run of six birdies and a bogey from Nos. 10-17 while Sluman and Jimenez closed with birdies on the 526-yard par 5.
"It's a hole you've got to take advantage of, you've got to make birdie," McCarron said. "If you can get it close and make eagle, it's a good thing, and it always feels good to finish with an eagle."
Both Sluman and Jimenez mustered four-hole birdie streaks during their rounds.
Kenny Perry, the 2014 winner, was a stroke back along with David Frost, Fred Funk, Scott Parel, Marco Dawson and Tommy Armour III. Frost won four years ago.
Perry had an eagle on No. 15.
The four-way tie for the lead is the largest on PGA TOUR Champions since eight players shared the lead after 18 holes at the 2015 Senior Open Championship.
Defending champion Bernhard Langer opened with a 69. John Daly, coming off a victory in the Insperity Invitational, shot a 71.
Janzen, a two-time U.S. Open champion, is seeking his second PGA TOUR Champions victory after winning the ACE Group Classic in 2015.
"I hit the ball really well," he said. "You know, there's two parts of the game, you figure out what you want to do and what shot you want to hit, and then the hard part is actually doing it. So when the ball actually goes where you want it to go and does exactly what you want it to do more than a few times during a round, it just makes for a better day.
"It's hard not to shoot a good score when you've got that kind of control, when the ball's landing the distance you want, you're keeping it below the hole and playing it on the proper side of the hole and proper side of the fairway all day long."
Sluman, who won the 1988 PGA Championship, had four birdies on both the front and back nines with just one bogey marring the round.
Jimenez, a Spaniard with four PGA TOUR Champions wins and 21 international victories, wasn't surprised by the crowd at 65.
"Well, the golf course is generous, right?" he said. "If you hit a good shot, the golf course allow you to make birdie. It's in superb condition."
Janzen, McCarron, Jimenez and Sluman all tied for the lead at Regions Tradition
Lee Janzen, 34-31 – 65 (-7)
• After finishing T66 at last year’s Regions Tradition, Janzen opened with a 7-under 65 that included eight birdies.
• He birdied all three par 3s on the back nine Thursday. On the season, he birdies par 3s 18.75% of the time, the ninth-best rate on Tour.
• It is the third time he has led after 18 holes on PGA TOUR Champions, and first since he shared the lead after the first round of the 2015 Senior Open Championship.
• His lone win on PGA TOUR Champions came at the 2015 Chubb Classic. This season, he has five top-25s and one top-10, and he is currently 24th in the Charles Schwab Cup standings.
Jeff Sluman, 33-32 – 65 (-7)
• Sluman’s first-round 65 included a string of four straight birdies on Nos. 8-11. He only missed one green in regulation (No. 7), and that led to his only bogey of the day.
• This marks the seventh time he has held at least a share of the lead after 18 holes. Of these seven occasions, he has gone on to win once (2009 PURE Insurance Championship).
• He is making his 10th straight start at the Regions Tradition, and his best finish was a tie for seventh in 2012. Last year, he finished T23 in the tournament’s first year at Greystone Golf & Country Club.
• His 2017 season includes a T3 finish at the Chubb Classic and a T2 finish with partner Fred Funk at the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge. He is currently 15th in the Charles Schwab Cup standings.
Scott McCarron, 33-32 – 65 (-7)
• McCarron eagled the par-5 18th hole to earn a share of the lead at 7-under. Earlier this year, McCarron eagled the 54th hole to turn a one-stroke deficit into a one-stroke victory at the Allianz Championship.
• He made two birdies and one eagle on the par 5s Thursday. On the season, he leads the Tour in par-5 scoring average (4.34) and par-5 birdie frequency (63.86%).
• This marks the third time he has held at least a share of the lead after 18 holes.
• Since McCarron won the Principal Charity Classic last June, he and Bernhard Langer are the only two players that have won three times on PGA TOUR Champions.
• In 2017, has one win and three top-10s, and he is fifth in the Charles Schwab Cup standings
Miguel Angel Jimenez, 32-33 – 65 (-7)
• Making his debut at the Regions Tradition, Jimenez’s first-round of 65 included a string of four straight birdies on Nos. 2-5. It was his 20th consecutive round under-par.
• This marks the fourth time he has held at least a share of the lead after 18 holes. Of the three previous occasions, he won once (2014 Mitsubishi Electric Classic).
• He has five top-10s in six previous starts in majors on PGA TOUR Champions. Last year, he finished T2 at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship and the U.S. Senior Open, and T3 at The Senior Open Championship. His worst finish in a senior major was a T17 finish at the 2015 U.S. Senior Open.
• Entering this week, Jimenez had top-10 finishes in each of his last five tournaments. He is currently third in the Charles Schwab Cup standings.
Kenny Perry, 34-32 – 66 (-6)
• Perry played the par 5s in 4-under, including an eagle on No. 15, and posted a bogey-free 66.
• Perry won the 2014 Regions Tradition when it was played at Shoal Creek. Last year, he led after 36 holes but faltered with rounds of 74-77 on the weekend, eventually finishing T23. In all, he has three top-five finishes in six starts at this tournament.
• He has opened with an under-par round in eight of nine tournaments this season. He is coming off his third top-10 of the season, a tie for second at the Insperity Invitational, and he is currently sixth in the Schwab Cup standings.
First-Round Lead Notes
• The four first-round co-leaders is the most since eight players shared the lead after 18 holes at the 2015 Senior Open Championship.
• In the previous 28 Regions Traditions, only two players have opened with a round of even-par or higher and gone on to win. Eduardo Romero was tied for 24th after he opened with an even-par 72 in 2006, the lowest first-round position by a winner. Kenny Perry went on to win in 2014 after shooting a first-round 72 and being T14.
• Only one first-round leader has gone on to win in 2017. At the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, Bernhard Langer was part of a three-way tie for the lead after 18 holes, and he went on to win the season opener, which was shortened to 36 holes due to weather. The last time a first-round leader won a 54- or 72-hole tournament was Paul Goydos at the 2016 Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
Other Player Notes
• Defending champion Bernhard Langer opened with a 69 and is tied for 13th. It is his 16th straight first round under-par.
• Colin Montgomerie shot 3-under 69, extending his streak to 34 consecutive rounds of par or better. The PGA TOUR Champions record is 38, set by Jay Haas in 2014. Earlier this season, Montgomerie missed more than two months due to a left ankle injury (torn ligaments).
• When Scott Hoch withdrew with a wrist injury on Monday, Todd Hamilton gained entry and was the last player into the 79-player field. He seized the opportunity on Thursday, shooting a first-round 69. He has broken par just twice in 19 rounds this season, and his best finish is a tie for 59th at the Tucson Conquistadores Classic. He finished T23 last year at the Regions Tradition.
• In his second start since his wife, Cathy, passed away on April 5, Bart Bryant carded a 69. Earlier this month at the Insperity Invitational, Bryant finished T67.
• John Daly hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation and carded a 1-under 71 in his first start since winning the Insperity Invitational.
Golf Course Notes
• Greystone Golf & Country Club was one of 12 courses on PGA TOUR Champions with a scoring average over par in 2016 (72.287). Overall, it ranked as the ninth toughest course on Tour last season. In Thursday’s first round, it played to a 71.684 average.
• The easiest hole Thursday was No. 2, yielding 43 birdies and playing to a 4.544 average. The hardest hole was No. 3, yielding 7 birdies, 14 bogeys and 5 double bogeys, and playing to a 4.278 average.