By Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff
Weather: Players off both the first and 10th tees. Sunny and breezy with winds from the NNW at 15-25 mph with gusts to 30 mph. Temperatures only reached the mid-60s, almost 20 degrees cooler than normal May temperatures.
First-round leaderboard: 1) Mike Goodes 35-34—69 (-3); 2) Gene Sauers 32-38—70 (-2); T3) Michael Allen 35-36—71 (-1), Mark Brooks 35-36—71 (-1), Mark Bucek 36-35—71 (-1), Brian Henninger 37-34—71 (-1), Hal Sutton 38-33—71 (-1)
-- With gusting winds swirling to 30 mph, Mike Goodes birdied two of his last three holes to post a 3-under 69, the only round under 70. Goodes’ score was good enough for a one-stroke lead over Gene Sauers after the first roundp. Goodes used his 8-iron to make both birdies coming in, knocking his tee shot on the par-3 16th to within two feet of the hole for a tap-in birdie. On the par-4 17th, Goodes hit his second shot seven feet from the hole and then converted the birdie. Sauers appeared as if he was going to lead until he pulled a 9-iron second shot into the water at the 17th and made double bogey.
-- Goodes finished third at last year’s Insperity Championship. This marks the third time in his Champions Tour career that he’s been a leader/co-leader after the first round. At the 2008 Regions Charity Classic, he was tied for the first-round lead and eventually finished fourth. At last year’s Principal Charity Classic, Goodes was the sole leader and finished T14.
-- Goodes finished T2 with partner Fred Funk at last week’s Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf team event, his top performance on the 2013 Champions Tour to date. His best effort in a stroke-play event this year is T14 at The ACE Group Classic.
-- Just two of the previous nine first-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win the Insperity Championship – Jay Haas (2006), Bernhard Langer (2007). Thus far in 2013, three of the previous six tournaments have been won by first-round leaders, including Brad Faxon/Jeff Sluman last week at the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf.
-- Defending champion Fred Funk shot a three-over-par 75 (T32) today, his highest score ever in this tournament. Bernhard Langer is the only player to win consecutive Insperity Championships, claiming the 2007 event at Augusta Pines and the 2008 event at The Woodlands.
-- Charles Schwab Cup leader and two-time Insperity Championship winner Bernhard Langer also had a tough day, posting a five-over-par 77 (T52), his highest score since he shot 77 in the second round of the 2011 SAS Championship in early October.
-- Hal Sutton’s run of five consecutive birdies (Nos. 15-1) were just one birdie off the tournament’s best streak ever (6, Dan Forsman, 2009, 1st Round) and just one off the best birdie streak on the Champions Tour this year (6, Corey Pavin, Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, second round). Sutton went on to shoot 1-under-par 71 at The Woodlands Country Club course.
-- There were just seven rounds under par today, the fewest in the first round of a 54-hole event on the Champions Tour since only six players broke par in Round 1 of the 2010 Posco E&C Songdo Championship in South Korea. Goodes’ three-under-par score is the highest score by a first-round leader in a three-round event since Fred Funk, Michael Allen and Jay Don Blake all shot 3-under 69s in the South Korea event.
-- The field scoring average today was 75.778 (+3.778), not only the highest for any round in tournament history, but also the highest for any round in a 54-hole Champions Tour event since the final day of the 2008 Ginn Championship (76.571/+4.571). The previous-high scoring average in this event was at The Woodlands in 2010 when the field averaged 73.818 in Round 1.
-- The par-3 14th hole played as the most difficult in Round 1 (3.469) but the par-4 2nd hole (4.444) was the second hardest and yielded just one birdie (Steve Elkington).
-- Tom Kite made his first career ace on the Champions Tour, holing his tee shot from 194 yards with a 7-iron on the par-3 16th hole. It marked just the second ace in event history. Last year on No. 16 during the second round, J.L. Lewis aced the hole. Kite’s ace today was the fourth on the 2013 Champions Tour and marked the second consecutive event that a player had a hole in one. Last week at the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf, Joe Daley made an ace on Sunday. Open qualifier Mark Bucek had the only other eagle of the day, holing out his third shot at the par-5 13th hole.
-- Just eight players have now played in all 10 Insperity Championships – Ben Crenshaw, Bob Gilder, Tom Jenkins, John Harris, Tom Kite, Wayne Levi, D.A. Weibring and Fuzzy Zoeller.
-- Tomorrow’s second round will also feature the 3M Oil & Gas Greats of Golf Challenge, a three-man, four-team event utilizing an 18-hole scramble format. Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player will defend their title and for the first time, World Golf Hall of Fame members Johnny Miller and Raymond Floyd will participate. They will be joined in the competition by Lee Trevino, Don January, Gene Littler, Tony Jacklin, David Graham, Charles Coody and David Stockton.
-- In support of Breast Cancer Awareness, volunteers and tournament staff will be wearing pink shirts tomorrow at the Insperity Championship to support the cause and pink flags will be used on each of the holes. The tournament is again a partner with the Houston affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and fans coming to the tournament are encouraged to wear pink.
-- Bryan Naugle, the Executive Director of the Insperity Championship, was the recipient of the 2013 Dave Marr Award, awarded annually to honor individuals who exemplify all the traits Mr. Marr lived by – sportsmanship, honesty, character, integrity and a passion for the game of golf.