Change can be a scary thing, however when David Frost saw that his shots were not up to expectations, he knew something had to be done.
Frost decided Sunday night to get his club shaft repairs to obtain better results and he did just that.
“I just felt the ball could have much more of a trampoline effect off the club face and I didn’t have to try and, you know, hit perfect golf shots out there as opposed to me just making a good golf swing and let the golf ball take care of itself,” Frost said. “I wasn’t getting that out of my game.”
The result, at least for the first round resulted in Frost tying for the lead at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship with Joe Durant and Doug Garwood.
Of the three leaders, Durant was the only one to record a bogey, however his front nine score of 31 which was accomplished with birdies on holes 2, 3, 6 and 7 gave him an advantage over others on the leaderboard.
Durant, who is making his fifth Champions Tour appearance, referred to the third hole as his “turning point” as he holed it out from the right greenside bunker.
“We had the ball in hand, which was a good thing. The greens were very soft, very receptive, so you’re going to see a lot of good scores today,” said Durant. “I hit a lot of fairways and greens and I think that was the key to shooting the number I shot today.”
This is the second straight week Durant has opened with a 64 in the first round as he matched the score at the Travelers Championship on the PGA Tour. He missed one fairway his entire round.
Garwood is coming top finishes in his past two starts losing a playoff in the Principal Charity Classic and placing fourth last week at the Encompass Championship. Garwood’s highlights came when he birdied hole 12, 13 and 14.
“I have been playing good and so I tried to lower my expectations coming in here,” Garwood said. “Figured I would just kind of take it slow and easy and start off slow, but then made some birdies and all of a sudden I’m 6-under par.”
Garwood never played an event on PGA Tour and in his first year played the Nationwide Tour where he lost one tournament in a playoff and made the top 50 on the money list.
“My driving has improved dramatically from say five, 10 years ago,” said Garwood. “I used to aim straight down the middle and miss it left or
right. I got a driver that I can’t really miss left and so I hit three to four more fairways a round and that makes a big difference.”
Garwood’s 64 is his seventh straight rough below par and the 64 represents his best round on the Champions Tour.
Frost is ranked third on the Champions Tour in putting average and the combination of closer approaches and no wind during his round, the 2013 Regions Tradition champion was able to put together his best round since the Mitsubishi Electric Championship which was the first event of the season.
“I don’t really want to peak in February or March, I would rather peak when we’re entering these majors,” Frost said. “So we have a nice run and now
we’ve got three majors in a row so it will be nice if I can, you know, kind of find form right now.”
Frost’s 64 is his best first round score since the Charles Schwab Cup Championship last year and his 27 putts were the second fewest of the 81 golfers in the field.
The leaders all tee off at different times with Garwood’s 7:45 a.m. time starting first. Durant will start at 10:41 a.m. and David Frost is in the second to last group at 12:20 p.m. There is no cut in the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship.
Shot of the day: On the par 4 fourth hole, Steve Pate stood in the right side of the fairway and hit his second shot into the hole.
“I had a wide open shot at it and I had a perfect number,” Pate said. “I hit an 8-iron and it took one hop and went in.”
Pate is -5 and one of eight players a shot back of the lead after his first round.
Of note: Barry Lane came into the week as an alternate and after 18 holes is two back of the lead. Lane has played two tournaments in Europe this season but has practiced the rest of the year.
“Last year I went eight times backwards and forwards across the Atlantic and in the end I was gone at the end of the year,” said Lane. “I just couldn’t cope. Played lovely, but my brain was somewhere else.”
The 64’s shot by Durant, Frost and Garwood tied for the lowest first round score in the three years Fox Chapel Golf Club has hosted the tournament. Bruce Vaughan shot 64 in 2012.
Greensburg, Pa. native Rocco Mediate shot 3 under 67… 39 players shot in the 60’s and 52 shot par or better… there were five bogey free rounds on the day with Frost, Garwood, Bernhard Langer , Lane and Marco Dawson … Colin Montgomerie shot a 5 under par 30 on the front nine, the lowest nine hole score of the day but after recording bogeys on his final three holes finished at 1 under par.