South Africa’s Retief Goosen produced a bogey-free, 10-under-par 62 to take a one-stroke lead Thursday in the first round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.
Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke shot 63 in the PGA Tour Champions event at Ka’upulehu-Kona, Hawaii, to sit in second place. Scott Parel and Jerry Kelly are each two shots behind the leader.
Kevin Sutherland and South Korea’s K.J. Choi share fifth place at 66, and Scott McCarron is seventh at 67. Jim Furyk, Brandt Jobe, Wes Short Jr., David Toms, Gene Sauers and Germany’s Bernhard Langer share eight place at 68.
Defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain is tied for 14th at 69.
Choi, Clarke and Furyk are all making their debuts in the event, which is the first of 2021 on the Champions circuit.
Goosen, 51, had streaks of four consecutive birdies, then three in a row and then two straight before finishing with four consecutive pars.
He said putting was the key to his round.
“You shoot 10 under, you make everything, and that’s what happened today,” Goosen said. “I saw the greens yesterday in the pro-am, I made nine birdies, and today I made 10 birdies, so I’m seeing the lines very well on the greens at the moment, and the putter’s working.
“The golf swing itself is a little raw. I must say I’m not striking it that good off the tee especially, but the fairways are wide here so you can get away with some bad drives. But I hit a lot of good iron shots in close.”
Goosen owns one career win on the Champions tour, the 2019 Bridgestone Senior Players Championship.
Clarke, 52, eagled the par-5 fifth hole as part of his bogey-free effort. He ended the day with four birdies in his final five holes.
“I played nicely all day and holed a couple of long putts,” Clarke said. “I don’t know how I’m going to play the next couple of days, but it’s nice to open the season on the Champions Tour with 63. Anytime you shoot 63 it’s good, but to do it at the start of the year is especially nice.”
–Field Level Media
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