THE WOODLANDS, Texas (AP) – Mike Goodes shot a 3-under 69 in wind that gusted to 30 mph to take a one-stroke lead Friday after the first round of the Champions Tour's Insperity Championship.
Only seven players in the 81-man field broke par on an unseasonably cold and blustery day. A gust blew down one scoreboard at The Woodlands Country Club.
Goodes bogeyed the second hole, rallied with par saves on the fifth and sixth holes and ran in a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 7. He birdied two of the last three holes.
“The key for me was to save a couple of decent two-putts early in the round,'' Goodes said. “I felt that was a huge key. The wind was howling right in my face (No. 5) and I hit a good drive and made a tough two-putt.''
On the next hole, Goodes faced another long putt.
“It was about 50-60 feet down one slope, up one slope and back down another slope,'' Goodes said. “I hit a good second putt from about 3 feet. That was a great two-putt.''
Gene Sauers had the lead at 4 under par going into the par 4 17th, but hit a 9-iron into the water for a double bogey and finished at 70.
Sauers has overcome a rare skin condition called Stevens-Johnson syndrome. He was out of golf for five years before fighting his way back to playing shape.
“Overall, I'm happy the way I played,'' Sauers said. “I made one bad mistake on 17 and it cost me, but I'm still right there. I've got two days to go.''
Brian Henninger, Mark Brooks, Hal Sutton, Michael Allen and Mark Bucek were two strokes back at 71.
Defending champion Fred Funk shot 75. Tom Kite had his first Champions Tour hole-in-one, acing the 194-yard 16th with a 7-iron, in a round of 76.
Bernhard Langer, a two-time winner this year, had a 77 – his highest score since the SAS Championship in October 2011.