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Steady as He Goes
John Jacobs, the 2003 Senior PGA Champion, was the model of consistency in the opening round of the 70th Senior PGA Championship. Jacobs parred every hole for a round of 70, hit 12 of 14 fairways, and 16 of 18 greens in regulation. And he was 1-for-1 in sand saves.
Tracking the Senior PGA Champions
Jacobs and three other past Senior PGA Champions — Hale Irwin, Dave Stockton and Denis Watson — shot 70 in the first round. Two-time and Defending Champion Jay Haas had 71, while Tom Watson, Allen Doyle and Fuzzy Zoeller each shot 72. Tom Wargo and Mike Reid carded 74s.
Norman’s Driving Woes
Greg Norman struggled off the tee in the opening round, hitting just five of 14 fairways. He finished with 73.
The Boys from the ’79 Amateur Final
Mark O’Meara, the winner of the 1979 U.S. Amateur at Canterbury, and John Cook, who lost to O’Meara in that final match, never got much going in the first round today. O’Meara, starting his round on No. 10, made double-bogey on 15 and triple-bogey on 16. He shot 76 for the round.
Meanwhile, Cook bogeyed three straight holes (4, 5 and 6) and shot 73.
How the Course Played
Statistically, the back nine played considerably harder than the front nine in the opening round. With par being 36 on the back, the field averaged 38.432 strokes on that side.
On the par-34 front nine, the field played to a stroke average of 35.781.
Stockton at “Home” in Cleveland
It should have come as little surprise that Dave Stockton opened with a 70 — his best score in the Senior PGA Championship since 2003 — considering his fondess for the Cleveland area.
Stockton, now 67, won the 1996 U.S. Senior Open at Canterbury, captured the 1968 Cleveland Open and even called suburban Cleveland his “summer home” in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Back then, before Stockton had enough money to fly back to his native California during a break from the PGA Tour, he and his wife, Cathy, would often stay with a local friend and play Chagrin Valley Country Club in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
Not Much Red
There were only 10 players under par in the first round and 22 players at par or better.
Tough 12th, Easy 15th
The par-4 12th, measuring 461 yards, played as the toughest hole in the opening round, with a stroke average of 4.626. Only eight birdies were made on 12, while there were 48 bogeys, 24 double bogeys and three “others” (triple bogey or worse).
The 18th and 17th holes ranked second and third, respectively, in difficulty. There were only five birdies on each hole among the 156-player field.
Conversely, the 549-yard, par-5 15th hole yielded 39 birdies and just 27 bogeys and three double bogeys. It ranked as the easiest hole on the course, with a scoring average of 4.961.
Flying Under the Radar
There were no eagles or holes-in-one recorded in the opening round today.