BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) Olin Browne had eight birdies in a nine-hole stretch and shot a 9-under 63 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Champions Tour’s Allianz Championship.
”I played a really nice round of golf today,” Browne said. ”I made two errant swings and I got away with both of them. Just happened to miss in the right place or got a fortunate break. Had a clean card, nine birdies and no bogeys. Birdied all the par 5s, so that ends up adding up slowly, which is really nice. We like days like that.”
The 57-year-old Browne birdied Nos. 17-2 and 4-7 on The Old Course at Broken Sound Club.
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”This course is such a good golf course,” Browne said. ”It’s in such beautiful shape but it’s very receptive. We’ve had a warm winter, right, so there’s a lot of water on the course. The greens, they don’t have their usual fire. They’re beautiful, they’re rolling probably 12, 12 1/2, but usually they’re the fastest greens that we play all year. So just all-around perfect conditions, not too much wind today.”
He lives in nearby Tequesta.
”It is a home game. I’m staying at home this week,” Browne said. ”I see this kind of grass every day when I play. It’s awfully nice not to be lugging your stuff through the airports and dealing with the airlines and all that kind of nonsense.”
Browne has two senior victories, the 2011 U.S. Senior Open and 2015 Greater Gwinnett Championship. He won the 2005 Deutsche Bank Championship for the last of his three PGA Tour titles.
Kenny Perry was two strokes back. He opened with an eagle on the par-5 first.
”I’ve hit more balls in the past two weeks than I’ve hit in two years combined,” Perry said. ”I quit practicing, I quit working at it, and I got tired of playing bad so I kind of, I stepped up, started hitting a lot of balls and seeing if it would help. I still hit some pretty poor shots, but my stamina was better, I didn’t run out of gas too fast.”
Tom Byrum, Marco Dawson and Scott McCarron shot 66. David Toms, making his second senior start after finishing 14th in the opener last month in Hawaii, was at 67 along with Jay Don Blake and Joe Durant.
Fred Couples eagled the par-5 11th in a 68. He’s playing in Florida for the first time since the 2006 Honda Classic.
”I got away with some bad shots,” Couples said. ”I hit some good shots, but hadn’t played nine through 18 so I was a little bit blind out there. Then some of the wind I didn’t judge very well, but I think I did all right for the first time really seeing it.”
At age 71, Hale Irwin shot a 68 to better his age for the 19th time on the tour.
Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, making a double bogey on the par-4 ninth. He birdied the 18th to extend his of under-par rounds to 24.
The 59-year-old German star is coming off a victory in the season-opener in Hawaii, his 30th career victory on the PGA Tour Champions. His only victory in the Allianz Championship was in 2010.
Winning Ryder Cup captains Jose Maria Olazabal and Paul McGinley made their debuts on the 50-and-over tour in the first full-field event of the year. McGinley had a 69, and Olazabal shot 71.
Defending champion Esteban Toledo opened with a 69. John Daly shot 71.