FIRST ROUND NOTES:
2019 Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship
Firestone Country Club, Akron, Ohio
Friday, July 12, 2019
Course Setup: Par 70 / 7,004 yards (R1 scoring average: 73.221)
Weather: Partly cloudy with morning temperatures in the low 70s. Wind from the NNW at 4-8 mph.
Suspension Notes: Play resumed at 7 a.m. with 63 players needing to complete their first round. Second-round tee times will run from 9:45 a.m. – 2:20 p.m. off the No. 1 tee.
TOP SCORES AFTER ROUND 1:
1. Steve Stricker -6 31-33 – 64
2. Scott Parel -4 34-32 – 66
3. Scott Verplank -2 35-33 – 68
T4. Jerry Kelly -1 35-34 – 69
T4. Retief Goosen -1 35-34 – 69
T4. Three others -1
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.
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.
Other Player Notes:
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.
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.
— notes courtesy of PGA TOUR Media