By Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff
Bernhard Langer and Tom Pernice Jr. each carded a 6-under 66 to lead after the first round of the Allianz Championship.
• For the first time since 2008, the low first-round score isn’t 64 as Bernhard Langer, the 2010 Allianz Championship winner, and Tom Pernice Jr. matched 6-under 66s. Langer birdied three of his last four holes to tie Pernice who earlier used a birdie-birdie-eagle run on his second nine (Nos. 3-5) of 5-under 31. Defending champion Corey Pavin heads a group of six players just one stroke off the pace.
• Bernhard Langer’s 5-under 66 today extended his streak of par-or-better rounds at the Old Course at Broken Sound to 11 straight and marked the sixth straight year that he’s opened the tournament with a round in the 60s. Langer’s stroke average on this course coming into the week was 68.80.
• Tom Pernice Jr., making his first appearance in the Allianz Championship, is tied for the first-round lead. Because of his fully-exempt status on the 2012 PGA TOUR, Pernice only made 10 starts on the Champions Tour last year and none before late March at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic (T3).
• Corey Pavin is the only first-round leader to go on and win this event and he was forced into overtime last year to do so. Bernhard Langer has gone on to win five times in 11 attempts when he’s led or been tied for the first-round lead on the Champions Tour. The last time he was in this position was when he was tied for the lead after the first round of last year’s Dick’s Sporting Goods Open and eventually finished T7. Tom Pernice, Jr. holds a share of the first-round lead for the first time in his Champions Tour career.
• Scott Simpson’s 5-under 67 was his best round on the Champions Tour since a 67 in Round 2 of last year’s Senior PGA Championship. It was also Simpson’s best round at the Allianz Championship since he shot 66 on Friday at the 2011 event. Simpson’s best finish in the Allianz Championship is a T16 in 2010.
• Bart Bryant and Rocco Mediate made their first career starts on the Champions Tour at Broken Sound. Bryant, playing with his brother Brad for the first time since Rd. 2 of the PGA TOUR’s FUNAI Classic at Walt Disney World Resort in 2005 (7 years, 3 months, 18 days), shot 5-under 67. Mediate also opened his Champions Tour career with a 5-under 67, making birdie on his last three holes. Tom Pernice, Jr. is the last player to win in his Champions Tour debut, claiming the 2009 SAS Championship.
|Quotes from the rookies|
“It was neat playing with Brad and of course, we had Peter Jacobsen in the group as well. If I can’t play with those two guys and have fun, I’m not going to be able to. It was a good day and a pretty good start. Nice to have one round under my belt. I shot 5-under and a few hiccups in the middle of the round. Other than that, it was pretty strong. It was special to play with my brother. We haven’t done that very often. This week was special because my mom and dad were able to come and be a part of this. They are probably not going to be at a lot more tournaments. For us to be able to play together again and for them to be here was really cool.”
“I played okay in spots. I didn’t eat today. I was a little nervous and I felt that coming in. I’ll change that from now on. In my first PGA TOUR start at Bay Hill back in 1985 I felt like a deer in the headlights. I know on the Champions Tour you have to earn your way here. You have to earn the respect of these guys and that’s what I want to do. I want to play good and be one of the guys again. My slogan on the PGA TOUR is “These Guys Are Good”. Mine for the Champions Tour, it should be, “These Guys Are Still Good.” Look at the scores. It’s a whole new thing but it’s still golf. So fun to play with Jeff Sluman and Mark Calcavecchia. I hadn’t played with Slu in awhile and I played recently with Calc in an outing a few years back. It was a good grouping for me.”
• There were 25 rounds in the 60s today and 48 scores under par on Friday. Last year after the first round, there were 25 scores in the 60s and 50 rounds under par. Today’s scoring average was 71.173. Last year on Friday, the field average was 70.975.
• The par-5 18th hole at the Old Course at Broken Sound has traditionally played as the easiest for the Allianz Championship and today was no different (4.506). The hole yielded two eagles and 40 birdies today. The par-3 14th hole played as the hardest with a stroke average of 3.370. There were only eight birdies made on the hole today. There were six eagles with Tom Pernice, Jr. (5th) and Mark O’Meara (13th) making them on par-4 holes.
• David Frost extended his streak of holes without a 3-putt to 272 straight dating back to last year’s SAS Championship (No. 16/Rd. 2)…Bernhard Langer, Roger Chapman, Michael Allen and Peter Jacobsen all had bogey-free rounds…Steve Jones missed just one fairway today…Bart Bryant, Kenny Perry and Scott Simpson all hit 16 greens in regulation…Gary Hallberg, Steve Lowery and Mark Mouland all needed just 25 putts today. Mouland had 11 one-putts.