Haas, Waldorf open with 66s at Senior PGA Championship

CBSSports.com wire reports
Seeking his first victory on the seniors circuit, Duffy Waldorf gets off to a good start. (USATSI)
Seeking his first victory on the seniors circuit, Duffy Waldorf gets off to a good start. (USATSI)

ST. LOUIS -- Jay Haas' familiarity with Bellerive Country Club was plain to see as he shot a 5-under 66 on Thursday to take a share of the lead in the Senior PGA Championship.

Haas, who grew up in nearby Belleville, Illinois, and Duffy Waldorf shared after a round played in breezy, cool conditions.

The 59-year-old Haas, the winner of the major championship in 2006 and 2008, had a bogey-free round. The 50-year-old Waldorf had six birdies and one bogey.

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"I didn't expect it going out," Haas said about shooting a low round. "I wasn't very sharp today, but managed to ... my misses were in the correct spots and I took advantage of a few good iron shots and just kind of kept it between the ditches, I guess you would say. But I'm very, very pleased."

Haas has 16 Champions Tour victories after winning nine times on the PGA Tour.

Waldorf is winless in 11 career starts on the 50-and-over tour after winning four times on the PGA Tour.

"Tee to green, it was a very good day," Waldorf said. "All in all, I hit the ball really well. I really liked my iron play. I had quite a few birdie putts. I didn't make them all so I feel like I still had some more out there."

Sonny Skinner was a stroke back along with Japan's Kiyoshi Murota.

"I'm not going to adjust my goals because I did have a good day today," Skinner said. "My main goal coming into this tournament was to just try to stay within each shot and each moment. A lot of times when you're on the outside looking into a big stage like the Champions Tour, it's real easy to get excited and your eyes wandering all over the place at how wonderful it is.

"You lose sight of the fact that, 'Hey, I got to play golf.' "

Australia's Peter Senior and Taiwan's Chien-Soon Lu shot 68, and Tom Watson, a two-time Senior PGA champion, was another stroke back in a 12-player group that included Kenny Perry, Fred Funk, Rocco Mediate, Russ Cochran, Dan Forsman, Gil Morgan and Bill Glasson.

Defending champion Roger Chapman opened with a 72. Peter Jacobsen, the 2004 U.S. Senior Open winner at Bellerive, had a 75.

Haas finished third in the 2004 U.S. Senior Open at Bellerive. He said he has played about 30 rounds at the country club.

"I'm certainly very excited about shooting 5 under here," Haas said. "Probably my lowest score ever at Bellerive, no matter what age I was."

His uncle, Bob Goalby, the 1968 Masters winner who stills lives in Belleville, followed him on the back nine holes.

"He was happy for me," said Haas, who was going to have dinner with Goalby and other family members. "He'll try and get over when he can. The last time he walked nine holes, I don't know when that was."

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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