BOCA RATON (Fla.) — Friday’s first round was a bit confusing.
The PGA Tour Champions were hampered by gloomy winds and untried Bermuda greens.
They weren’t in limbo on the 50-and-50er circuit for a change.
What can you do?
Sixty-one of the 51 players finished in the 60s. Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez was the winner with four consecutive birdies and a 5-under 67. Jimenez’s 30-footer on 18th hole was a one-stroke advantage over Rod Pampling and Paul Goydos, 2015 TimberTech Championship winners.
Jimenez tied for second with Steven Alker at last year’s TimberTech Championship. He has 13 career PGA Tour Champions victories. “I made some good shots and putt on the final hole.
After the first round, the 67 was the highest score in 16 years of the TimberTech Championship. Broken Sound hosted the first 15 events, before Royal Palm moved to Royal Palm because of renovations at the Old Course.
Goydos stated that the main reason for the field’s difficulties was not the wind but the fact that the players had never seen Royal Palm in tournament conditions.
Goydos said that it was funny and that it’s not a serious issue. My job is to play two pro-ams and a practice round. It’s a problem if you can’t find the course in three rounds.
“Despite that, I believe guys have difficulty reading the greens, me included. They are not easy to read, and this is one exception to the rule. They can be a bit more challenging.
Jimenez wasn’t the only one to win. Pampling, who won on the 50-and older circuit once, finished with three birdies.
Pampling shared Goydos’ thoughts about the need to take time to familiarize yourself with Royal Palm. This layout was originally designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1960s. Jack Nicklaus renovated it in 2003 and updated it in 2014.
Pampling stated that “I think we see enough in the practice rounds, however, we don’t see any pins so we play to the middle green.” “I think they’ll drop as the week progresses. You can see the visual and after you have gotten a few days you will be able to get going.
Scott McCarron Jr., Tom Pernice Jr., and Robert Karlsson were the only players who broke 70 on Friday. They each shot 69s. The average field score was 72.3
Alker, the reigning champion, overcome a double-bogey on 15th hole par-3 to shoot 2-under 70. He tied for seventh with 10 players including Colin Montgomerie, Colin Langer of Boca Raton, and former major champions Retief Goosen, and David Toms.
Langer has enjoyed the TimberTech Championship. He’s the only player who has won twice and has made almost $1.4million in 14 starts. Langer was 1 over through 15 holes on Friday, before saving his round with three closing pars.
Langer stated, “Played pretty well all day.” Langer said, “Hit a few loose shots early and paid the price instantly. Today was more difficult because of the wind. Some of us find the greens difficult to read. They are a bit grainy and change directions. I haven’t been using them well yet so you might need to try it.
McCarron, the winner of the 2017 TimberTech Championship was the last player to make it into this year’s field at Number. 54 on the Charles Schwab Cup Playoff Points List.
He is aware of what he must do to get among the 36 players who will be advancing to next week’s Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
McCarron stated, “I know that I must win.” McCarron said, “I’m all-in until I’m out.”
After 18 holes, they’re all still chasing Jimenez. Although he had a stunning finish on Friday, there are still 36 holes. The wind will continue, as will the confused looks.