CARY, N.C. – Doug Garwood birdied seven of the final 11 holes for a 7-under 65 and the first-round lead Friday in the PGA Tour Champions’ SAS Championship.
Winless on the 50-and-over tour, the 53-year-old Garwood began the run with birdies on Nos. 9 and 10 and played the back nine at Prestonwood in 5-under 31 in the final regular-season event of the year.
“The thing I remember is I had four lip-outs, so felt like it should have been lower,” Garwood said. “But it was fun. … Obviously, when you shoot 7 under, everything’s working. I drove it well, hit the irons pretty good and I started making putts. Putter was probably the best part, made a lot of putts even with the lip-outs.”
He birdied only one of the four par 5s – the ninth.
“I tried to hit 3-wood second shot and I hit it up in the rough, which is a mistake, but I gouged it out about 30 feet and rolled that one right in the heart,” Garwood said.
Brad Faxon was a stroke back at 66, and Bernhard Langer and Larry Mize shot 67.
The top 72 players on the money list after the tournament – and one player in the top 10 in the event but outside the top 72 for the season – will get spots in the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener – the PowerShares QQQ Championship at Sherwood in Thousand Oaks, California, on Oct. 28-30. Brian Henninger, 72nd with 172,853, shot a 72. Garwood is 37th with $483,745.
Faxon had seven birdies and one bogey.
“I think the key to my round, I missed the fairway on one and then left it pretty far short of the green and I had a really tough little pitch shot that I zipped up the fringe and got it to like an inch,” Faxon said. “Then I made a long putt for birdie on two and a really long putt for birdie on three and it was just kind of the whole day was setting the tone by the first three holes.”
The 59-year-old Langer leads the tour with four victories and earnings of $2,512,659. He won the 2012 event and tied for third the last two years.
“It was a great day, especially the putter was hot,” Langer said. “Putted extremely well today. Made a lot of par saves and some really good birdie putts as well. Never hit one stiff, a gimme birdie, didn’t have one of those, so all my birdies were putts.”
Senior British Open winner Paul Broadhurst was at 68 along with Michael Bradley, Brandt Jobe and Billy Mayfair.
Jay Haas shot a 74, five days after winning in Newport Beach, California, at 62 years, 10 months, 7 days to become the second-oldest winner in tour history.
Defending champion Tom Lehman opened with a 72.
Rod Spittle is tied for 46th at 1-over 73, while Stephen Ames was 63rd after a 3-over 75.