Australia’s Peter Senior shot an eight-under 63 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead in the PGA Champions Tour’s season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
The 54-year-old Senior had nine birdies, an eagle and three bogeys at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, California, to match the first-round record set by Jim Thorpe in his 2003 win at the Sonoma Golf Club.
“That was probably the best round of golf I’ve played this year,” Senior said.
Senior won the Australian Open last year for his 19th PGA Tour of Australasia victory. He is seeking his first Champions Tour title after finishing second five times — including three playoff losses — in 93 career starts.
“That’s the only disappointing thing,” Senior said. “It’s such a great tour and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. It’s a little disappointing I haven’t won in four years.”
David Frost shot 64, missing a short putt on the 18th hole. Fred Couples was third at 65, Mark O’Meara had a 66 and Bernhard Langer, Steve Elkington and Duffy Waldorf all shot 67.
Far off the pace was Taiwan’s Lu Chien-soon, who shot a one-over 72 to tie for 26th with the US’ John Riegger.
Charles Schwab Cup points leader Kenny Perry topped the group at 68. Perry entered the event 612 points ahead of second-place Langer. If Langer wins the tournament, Perry only needs to finish fifth or better take the season title and US$1 million annuity.
Senior shot a six-under 30 on the front nine, culminating with an eagle on the ninth hole. He birdied No. 11 and No. 12 and allowed himself to start thinking big.
Couples, who is dealing with neck and back issues, had a double-bogey on No. 8 and nine birdies.
Additional reporting by staff writer