SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Paul Goydos shot an 8-under 62 on Friday in windy conditions to take a three-stroke lead in the PGA Tour Champions’ season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
The 52-year-old Goydos holed out from 167 yards for eagle on the par-4 12th and closed with birdies on the par-3 17th and par-5 18th on Desert Mountain Club’s Cochise Course.
“It started off hard, it calmed down a little bit as the day progressed,” Goydos said. “In tough conditions we need to do good things. I made a bomb on the first hole for birdie, which kind of maybe relaxes you a little bit. I thought if I shot under par today, you’d have a good day.
“You knew the first five or six holes were going to be difficult, and to get a birdie early kind of calms you down. Actually, there were two. I made about a 12-footer for par after a mediocre iron shot. If I don’t make that, I might shoot 70 today, but I made that putt and kept the momentum going.
Colin Montgomerie, third in Charles Schwab Cup season standings, was second. The Scot birdied the final two holes.
“I must say Paul Goydos’ score this morning, because it was windy this morning, I think that 8 under this morning was one of the best scores we’ve seen all year,” Montgomerie said. “Tremendous score. Even to get within three for me was a delight.”
Points leader Bernhard Langer topped the group at 67.
“I actually played very nicely,” Langer said. “I maybe hit two bad 5 irons, came out of it a little bit and that was it. One resulted in a bogey and the other one I three-putted for bogey. But the rest of the day I hit the ball very solid, gave myself opportunities and just didn’t make a whole lot of putts. … Not too far behind, right there to still challenge for the championship.”
The top five in the standings – Richmond winner Scott McCarron is second, followed by Montgomerie, Joe Durant and Miguel Angel Jimenez – can take the season title with a victory Sunday. McCarron holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-5 15th in a 69. Durant shot 70, and Jimenez had a 74.
“I’m a scoreboard watcher and I know exactly what’s going on, especially with my German friend behind and Scott McCarron and Joe and also Miguel,” Montgomerie said. “It’s just great to get in after just one round ahead of these guys at least to give myself a chance.”
Tom Pernice Jr., the winner of the playoff opener two weeks ago in California, also was at 67 along with Paul Broadhurst and Duffy Waldorf.
The season standings were reset after the event last week in Virginia, with Langer’s lead over McCarron reduced from 935,657 to 200. The tournament winner will receive $440,000 and 2,000 points.
Langer is recovering from a left knee injury that forced him to withdraw from the playoff opener at Sherwood, The 59-year-old German has a tour-high four victories and has wrapped up the season money title with $2,836,459. He won season titles in 2010, 2014 and 2015.
Goydos entered the week 24th in the standings. He birdied four of the last five holes in a front-nine 30, and bogeyed the par-4 10th.
“I messed up 10 a little bit, made a bad swing and that’s going to happen,” Goydos said. “It’s hard to be perfect in tougher conditions.”
He rebounded with the eagle on 12.
“On the fly, didn’t damage the cup, couldn’t have been more center cup,” Goydos said. “It didn’t even touch the cup. I had 167 yards, a 6-iron into the wind. It wasn’t blowing too hard.
The two-time PGA Tour winner won the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in July for his third senior title. He shot a 59 in the PGA Tour’s 2010 John Deere Classic.
“I remember when I did the 59 group and I talked to Annika (Sorenstam) about it, talked about being in the zone,” Goydos said. “When you play good, you’re always in the present. You’re not worried about what you’re shooting, you’re worried about the shot at hand. You’re not worried about the green or the bunkers or whatever’s up there, you’re worried about your target and making a good swing.
“Today, I was very much in the present almost the entire day and that tends to be at least one of the prerequisites to playing good and then good things happen.”