Wes Short Jr. matched his lowest round of the PGA Tour Champions season Friday while grabbing the first-round lead at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in Endicott, N.Y.
Short carded a 6-under-par 66 at En-Joie Golf Club to build a one-shot advantage over Cameron Beckman and Germany’s Bernhard Langer.
Short hit all 14 fairways in regulation and carded seven birdies against one bogey.
“Hit more fairways today than I did all of last week probably on the first five holes,” Short said. “Last week was tough, makes this seem a little easier. I drove it really well.”
Langer had four birdies plus an eagle at the par-5 eighth hole for a 6-under 31 on the front nine.
“It’s a long par 5,” Langer said of the eighth. “I’m not that long anymore, so I hit a good drive, laid up with a 2-hybrid, had 91 yards and hit a beautiful sand wedge, almost a full sand wedge, landed I think a foot short of the hole, probably bounced past it and spun back in. I didn’t see it because I was down on the hill, but it was right on line.
“When I heard the people go like crazy behind the green, I knew it was in.”
Three bogeys on the back held him just out of reach of Short.
Langer’s professional caddie, Terry Holt, was unable to work the event. So Langer hired Dr. Fran Pirozzolo, a friend of his who has worked as a sports psychologist with the New York Yankees and other professional teams, to man his bag for the first time.
Langer has 15 top-10 finishes in 25 starts this season and is looking for his second win.
Eight players are in a tie for fourth at 4-under 68: Skip Kendall, David Toms, Willie Wood, Tom Byrum, Jerry Smith, Billy Andrade, South Africa’s Ernie Els and Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez.
–Field Level Media
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