Steve Stricker leads Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship after Round 1
July 11, 2019
By Associated Press
- July 11, 2019
Steve Stricker makes an ace at Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS
Steve Stricker, 31-33 – 64 (-6)
- Stricker played two shots Friday morning – he hit a 140-yard approach on No. 18 and made the ensuing birdie putt. His second-round tee time is 1:03 p.m.
- On Thursday, Stricker made a hole-in-one on the 182-yard 7th hole with a 7-iron. It was the 15th hole-in-one in tournament history, first of Stricker’s career on this Tour, and fifth on PGA TOUR Champions this season.
- One of Stricker’s three aces on the PGA TOUR came at the 2011 Memorial Tournament (second round, No. 8), which he went on to win.
- Stricker had four top-10s in nine starts at Firestone on the PGA TOUR. He had a 69.69 scoring average and 19 of his 36 rounds were in the 60s (best: 64, R4/2012 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational).
- Winner of the Regions Tradition and U.S. Senior Open, Stricker is looking to become the fourth player to win three majors in one season on PGA TOUR Champions (Gary Player/1988, Jack Nicklaus/1991, Bernhard Langer/2017).
- In his two major victories, Stricker made three total bogeys over the 144 holes (1/Regions Tradition, 2/U.S. Senior Open). He has been bogey-free in six of 13 rounds at majors this season, including his first-round 64.
- Stricker has led/co-led after eight of the 13 rounds at majors this season.
- In eight starts on PGA TOUR Champions this season, Stricker has two wins and five top-10s and he’s No. 2 in the Charles Schwab Cup.
First-Round Lead Notes
- This season, a first-round leader/co-leader has won six out of 15 tournaments, including Steve Stricker’s win at the U.S. Senior Open.
- Since 1990, the first-round leader/co-leader has gone on to win this tournament six times. Most recently, Bernhard Langer led wire-to-wire and won in 2015.
Scott Parel, 34-32 – 66 (-4)
- Parel’s first shot Friday morning was his approach into the par-4 8th hole. He was even-par on the seven holes he completed Thursday, and 4-under on his 11 holes he completed Friday morning.
- His 66 matches his best first-round score in a major. At the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in May, he was the first-round leader after a 4-under 66.
- Parel has six top-10s and three runner-up finishes this season and is currently No. 7 in the Charles Schwab Cup.
- Ken Duke (-1/T4), Tommy Tolles (E/T9) and David McKenzie (E/T9) were three of the 15 players that finished their first rounds on Thursday. These are three of the 17 players in the field that did not play in a PGA TOUR event at Firestone Country Club.
- Duke gained entry Thursday morning when Fred Funk withdrew.
- Defending champion Vijay Singh is T9 after a first-round 70. He had six top-10s in 14 starts at Firestone Country Club on the PGA TOUR, including a win at the 2008 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
- Scott McCarron, winner of the 2017 Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship at Caves Valley, is 4-over and tied for 44th. McCarron has led the Charles Schwab Cup each of the last nine weeks, and his lead has been more than $400,000 the last five weeks.
- Bernhard Langer, the only three-time winner of the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship, carded a first-round 76 and is T58.
- Fred Couples, one of five winners of THE PLAYERS Championship in this week’s field, is T50 at 5-over.
Winner of the 2011 Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS, Couples was recognized Thursday evening with the 2019 Ambassador of Golf Award, which honors a person who has fostered the ideals of the game on an international level and whose concern for others extends beyond the golf course.
- Mark O’Meara withdrew on the 10th tee Friday morning due to a back injury.
AKRON, Ohio -- Steve Stricker topped the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship leaderboard at 5 under with a hole to play Thursday when the first round was suspended for the day because of lightning and rain.
Coming off a victory two weeks ago in the U.S. Senior Open at Norte Dame, Stricker had a hole-in-one on the 184-yard, par-3 seventh at Firestone Country Club.
Play was suspended at 12:55 p.m., and called for the day at 5:05 p.m. after just over an inch of rain soaked the course. Stricker was in the middle of the 18th fairway, facing a 140-yard shot on the par-4 hole, when play was stopped. He was set to resume play at 7 a.m. Friday.
"Bummed that we didn't get to finish because that meant we could have slept in a little bit tomorrow, and then now we'll have to get out here just to hit that shot," Stricker said. "Hopefully, just one putt. And then we won't tee off until 1 p.m. Maybe go back and I don't know what we'll do -- kill time, eat breakfast a few times or something. Yeah, it would have been nice to finish."
Stricker is seeking his third straight major victory on the PGA TOUR Champions, a run that began with the Regions Tradition. He's playing the 50-and-over event instead of going for a fourth victory at the John Deere Classic on the PGA TOUR.
"I wish they were different weeks so I could play them both, but I decided to come here," Stricker said. "I'm happy I'm here and I'm not second-guessing my decision at all."
Paul Goydos was second at 2 under after five holes.
Ken Duke shot a 1-under 69. John Daly (8 holes), Jay Haas (15 holes), Duffy Waldorf (12 holes), Wes Short (10 holes), Miguel Angel Jimenez (8 holes), Lee Janzen (5 holes), Corey Pavin (5 holes) and Bart Bryant (3 holes) also were 1 under.
Bernhard Langer was even par after six holes. He won the tournament three straight times from 2014 through 2016.
Defending champion Vijay Singh was 1 over with two holes left.
Stricker used a 7-iron on the ace.
"We had a 6-iron out to start with and then some breeze came up a little bit and I knew the 6-iron was borderline, a little bit too much," Stricker said. "Then once that breeze, we felt that, we thought that 7-iron was going to be the right club. Came off good, it was just a little bit left of the hole and then it broke. ... That's always something very unexpected. You don't expect that or see that very often."
Firestone is a longtime PGA TOUR venue, hosting the World Golf Championships event and previously the World Series of Golf.
"It just is old school," Stricker said. "It's right there in front of you. It's long, it's tough, there's not a lot of let-up holes. You have to drive it well, hit good iron shots. And if you do drive it in the trees, you can advance it up the fairway usually pretty far up around the green somewhere and then you've got to try to get it up-and-down with your short game."