NAPLES, Florida (AP) — Tom Jenkins moved into position to become the 18th player 60 or older to win a U.S. seniors golf tour event, shooting an 8-under 64 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead over five players in The ACE Group Classic.
The 60-year-old Jenkins had a 12-under 132 total on the Quail West Golf Club course. He won the last of his seven career titles in the 2006 SAS Championship.
“I’ve been in this position before,” Jenkins said. “It’s about executing the shots. I know at my age it gets tougher and tougher out here.”
Scott Hoch, a Quail West resident coming off a victory last week in Boca Raton, had a 66 to join Nick Price (66), Ron Streck (66), Gary Koch (67) and Peter Jacobsen (68) at 10 under. Chip Beck (66) and Loren Roberts (70) followed at 9 under.
Jenkins, three strokes behind first-round leaders Bruce Fleisher, Roberts, Fuzzy Zoeller and Tom Kite at the start of play, birdied the first two holes. Jenkins added birdies on Nos. 8, 10 and 11, then eagled the 527-yard, par-5 13th.
Jenkins hit a 2-iron from 236 yards to 28 feet and made the putt to overtake Fleisher for the lead. Jenkins followed with a 6-foot birdie putt on the next hole.
“At one point, I was actually thinking about my age there for a brief moment,” he said about the possibility of a 60.
Hoch was asked about the difficulty of winning two weeks in a row.
“It’s hard to do it anywhere,” Hoch said. “I think I did it in Japan in 1982.”
He was paired with Price.
Price is winless on the 50-and-over tour.
“The way I’ve been playing, I don’t even know if I deserve to be out here,” Price said. “It’s been a while since I’ve played this well. Confidence is a very fragile thing. Mine comes from consistent ball-striking.”
Seventy-two-year-old Gary Player bettered his age by two strokes, shooting a 70 for a 2-under total. Player has bettered his age eight times and matched it 10 times in Champions Tour play.
Denis O’Sullivan had a hole-in-one, using a 5-iron from 170 yards on No. 12. He was 2 under after a 74.