Steve Stricker shoots 63 to guide Senior Gamers Championship after Spherical 1

AKRON, Ohio – Steve Stricker made the final minute choice to play the Senior Gamers Championship as an alternative of the PGA Tour and he paid off at Firestone on Thursday.

Stricker punched a bunker shot on par-3 12 for a birdie, ran three straight birdies on the finish of his first 9 holes, and held bogeys off his card for a 7-under 63. That gave him a four-shot head begin on Ken Duke and Paul Broadhurst.

It was precisely the beginning he wanted after his final two occasions on the PGA Tour Champions. The Ryder Cup captain misplaced a giant probability of profitable the Senior PGA Championship at Southern Hills with a 77 within the last spherical, and he bought off to such a foul begin to his American Household Insurance coverage Championship {that a} 65 ended up being a draw was sufficient for seventh.

On the PGA Tour or in opposition to his friends, placing – the hallmark of his profession – held him again, and Stricker, 54, was doing handicrafts at house in Wisconsin.

“I did not putt the best way I am used to, so I did a number of sanding at house, altering grips and putters all over the place,” he stated. “I’ve bought the putter underneath management this week, however we’ll see. I am engaged on it. It wasn’t nice, however it was good immediately.”

Duke chipped behind the 18th inexperienced and completed his 67th spherical.

The 69-year-old group included defending champion Jerry Kelly, who’s celebrating his second straight win in Wisconsin.

The putter grip Stricker used on Thursday was the identical one he had when he received the Chubb Traditional in Florida earlier this 12 months. After which he went on to one thing else that’s typical of most gamers, though on this case he stated that his placing this week was nonetheless not nice.

“I gave him one other probability,” he stated.

Stricker used the identical putter for years on his greatest run on the PGA Tour. Now he is tinkering and even experimenting with the arm lock methodology utilized by the likes of Bryson DeChambeau and Matt Kuchar.

He is not prepared for that but.

“I am a left dominant putter, a left arm putter, so even the armlock feels good, however that is one other stage,” he stated. “So I went the opposite method and tightened that grip and that feels fairly good.”

Stricker began on the again 9 in windy circumstances, hit 6-irons at 4 ft on the eleventh gap, adopted by his bunker shot on the twelfth, after which hit a lob wedge at 4 ft on the par-5 sixteenth gap for a 20-foot birdie on the seventeenth and hit him from 10 ft behind the outlet at quantity 18.

Solely seven gamers broke the par on the South Course, which beforehand hosted a World Golf Championship.

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