|Senior leads Charles Schwab Cup Championship|
|Thursday, October 31, 2013 8:11 PM|
SAN FRANCISCO — Peter Senior is a big winner in Australia. He’d like at least one win in the United States.
He got off to a good start Thursday in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, shooting an 8-under 63 to take a 1-stroke lead in the Champions Tour’s season-ending event.
The 54-year-old Senior had nine birdies, an eagle and three bogeys at TPC Harding Park to match the event first-round record set by Jim Thorpe in his 2003 victory at Sonoma Golf Club.
“That was probably the best round of golf I’ve played this year,” Senior said. “I putted well and hit it well.”
Senior won the Australian Open last year for his 19th PGA Tour of Australasia victory. He’s seeking his first Champions Tour title after finishing second five times — including three playoff losses — in 93 career starts.
“That’s the only disappointing thing,” Senior said. “It’s such a great tour and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. It’s a little disappointing I haven’t won in four years. You’ve got to be fortunate at the right times and I haven’t done enough down the stretch, going par, par, par when I needed a birdie to make the difference. Hopefully, it might happen.”
David Frost shot 64, missing a short putt on the 18th hole. Fred Couples was third at 65 and Mark O’Meara had a 66. Bernhard Langer, Steve Elkington and Duffy Waldorf shot 67.
Charles Schwab Cup points leader Kenny Perry topped the group at 68. Perry entered the event 612 points ahead of second-place Langer. If Langer wins the tournament, Perry needs only to finish fifth or better take the season title and $1 million annuity.
Senior shot a 6-under 30 on the front nine, culminating with an eagle on the ninth hole. He birdied Nos. 11 and 12 and allowed himself to start thinking big.
Frost has two victories this season, including his first senior major victory at the Regions Tradition in June.
“It was nice to get off to a good start,” Frost said. “You want to get excited but there’s so much golf left to play you can’t get ahead of yourself because of a couple of early birdies.
“I think I’ve had a great year. I didn’t drive the ball as well as I should have and that’s something that has held me back. I’m not too disappointed. I’m happy to have played solid golf and here is like a tournament within a tournament. There’s no reason I should not focus on the task at hand.”
Couples is dealing with neck and back issues. He had a double bogey on the eighth hole.
“I hit what I thought was as good a shot as I could and no way could it stay on the green,” Couples said. “I kind of fluffed a pretty difficult chip to about 5 feet and missed it, so that was that.”
Couples had nine birdies, three immediately before his double bogey and two immediately following.
Matsuyama withdraws from HSBC with injury
SHANGHAI — Hideki Matsuyama of Japan has pulled out of the HSBC Champions because of a back injury.
Matsuyama is No. 28 in the world ranking and was playing only his second World Golf Championship. He opened with a 1-under 71 on Thursday at Sheshan International.
He withdrew this morning saying only that he had a bad back.
The 21-year-old Matsuyama has won three times this year and had a pair of top 10s in the majors at the U.S. Open and British Open. He played on his first Presidents Cup team last month. He first rose to prominence as a 2-time winner of the Asia-Pacific Amateur who made the cut both times he played the Masters.
Trent Rommann leads PGA Assistant Championship
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Trent Rommann shot a 5-under 67 on Thursday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Assistant Championship.
The 30-year-old Rommann, a PGA assistant professional at Crestview Country Club in Wichita, Kan., had seven birdies and two bogeys on PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker Course.
Rommann began play on the back nine and birdied his opening hole, the par-4 10th. He bogeyed the par-4 12th but bounced back with birdies on three of his next four holes.
“I got started quickly and played really well all day,” Rommann said. “I made a little mistake on 12 but got right back on track.”
He birdied three of the four par 5s and closed with birdies on three of the final four holes.
Dennis Downs of Surprise, Ariz., was a stroke back along with Adam Gary of Bowling Green, Ky.; Jeff Schmid of Columbia, Mo.; Jeff Seavey of Homosassa, Fla.; and Shawn Warren of Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Logan Watts earned $25,000 with a hole-in-one. The 24-year-old PGA apprentice at Louisville (Ky.) Country Club used a 4-iron on the 214-yard 17th hole. He finished with 69.
“I hit it right on the screws,” Watts said. “As soon as I hit it I go, ‘Uh oh, boys, this one’s got a chance.’ But the sun had started coming down, so we couldn’t see the actual hole.”
Two-time champion Frank Bensel of Purchase, N.Y., also opened with a 69.
Ashley Grier of Hagerstown, Md., the first female player to compete in the event since 2011, shot a 71.
The tournament winner will receive $9,000 and a spot in the PGA Professional National Championship in June in Myrtle Beach, S.C.