Jimenez, Barron share PGA Tour Champions lead
ENDICOTT, N.Y. (AP) — Miguel Angel Jimenez birdied three of the final six holes Friday for a 7-under 65 and a share of the first-round lead with Monday qualifier Doug Barron in the PGA Tour Champions’ Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.
Jimenez had eight birdies and a bogey at En Joie Golf Club. The 55-year-old Spaniard won the Chubb Classic in February in Florida for his seventh senior title.
“It was very nice. I played very solid. I felt very comfortable on the golf course,” Jimenez said. “That’s what you need to do, hit fairways, hit greens and hit it close. I made the putts. Happy with the way I’ve been managing myself on the golf course.”
The 50-year-old Barron had seven birdies in a bogey-free round. He’s coming off a fifth-place tie in the Senior British Open in his Champions debut.
“I’ve been around this course 32 times in tournament rounds and played however many practice rounds here when I was on tour, so I like the place. It fits my eye,” Barron said. “Just like it reminds me of the two courses I grew up playing at home. So, I’ve always played good here, I’ve had some good finishes here.”
Marco Dawson and Scott Parel were a stroke back at 66. Kevin Sutherland was another stroke back with David McKenzie and Billy Andrade. Kevin Sutherland shot a 59 in the tournament five years ago.
Senior British Open winner Bernhard Langer shot a 68, playing alongside Charles Schwab Cup leader Scott McCarron and Senior Players Championship winner Retief Goosen. Langer won at En Joie in 2014.
“You’ve got to drive it straight here,” Langer said. “It’s tree-lined, rough and trees everywhere, so you’ve got to drive it really good, hit some good irons and, hopefully, sink some putts. That’s what it takes.”
McCarron, the winner two years ago, had a 69. Goosen shot 72.
Davis Love III and Jay Haas shot 68, while playing partner Fred Couples had a 70. Couples is back at En Joie for the first time in 24 years. He won the B.C. Open in 1991 when it was a PGA Tour event.
“I just didn’t make enough birdies, but I felt OK,” Couples said. “I have to play a lot more and practice a lot harder to work my way up these leaderboards again. I have not really played well this whole year, but it’s fun to be here.”
John Daly had a 71.
Defending champion Bart Bryant opened with a 72. He also won the 2013 event.