Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club, Grand Blanc, MI — July 31, 2020
The professionals of the PGA Tour Champions teed it up for real today at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club in the opening round of The 2020 Ally Challenge. The weather perfect, the course pristine, a great day for golf. The only thing missing? The fans. Still, the players were anxious to get back to playing competitive golf in this first event since the pandemic shutdown.
Fan favorite, John Daly, showed up with his Red Wing logo pants to give the tournament’s shout-out to neighboring Detroit.
The leaderboard was crowded early until Tim Herron shot an opening nine of 32 and moved to the top at 4 under par. Bogies on 12 and 14 took him out of contention for the 1st-day lead.
Tommy Armour III pushed the lead to -5 with a birdie on the par-four 10th, a bogey on 12 dropped him a stroke back.
Bernhard Langer, is the leader in the “Charles Schwab Cup, the season-long, earnings-based competition that determines the PGA TOUR Champions’ top player.” He showed why when he moved to -6 with three straight birdies to start the back nine of his round. Langer, who started on the 10th hole, birdied 11, 13, & 14 on his opening nine.
After starting with bogies on 10 & 11, Tour rookie Ernie Els birdied four of the seven remaining holes on his 1st nine to get to -2. His tee shot on #1 was placed into the #10 fairway to shorten the distance on the par 5, 567-yard hole. To no avail, he could only manage par to start his back nine.
While 4 under par seemed to be the popular number for the day, Billy Andrade posted a -6 to become the leader in the clubhouse. Six birdies, including three-in-a-row on 13-15, for an opening-round 66 set the mark for the rest of the field to shoot for.
Tommy Armour III combined 7 birdies with a bogey on #12 to match Andrade’s 66 total and share the lead in the clubhouse.
The pair of 66’s held up for the first-round lead. Langer, Wes Short Jr., and local professional Tom Gillis from Lake Orion tied for 3rd at 5 under par. Nine players tied for 6th at -4, including Corey Pavin, David Toms, and PGA Tour Champions rookie Jim Furyk. Still in contention tied for 15th are Lee Janzen, Colin Montgomerie, Ernie Els, John Daly, Retief Goosen, and Defending Champion Jerry Kelly at 3 under.
Other notables are Larry Mize, Scott Verplank, and Angel Cabrera at 2 under. Vijay Singh at -1, Gary Nicklaus at 2 over, and 2018 Champion Paul Broadhurst tied for 75th at 3 over par. Tom Kite posted the high score for the day, a 12 over par 84.
Leaderboard for Opening Day of The Ally Challenge
|T1||Tommy Armour III||-6||66|
|T3||Wes Short Jr.||-5||67|
|T54||Tom Pernice Jr||E||72|
|T61||David Morland IV||1||73|
|T61||Gibby Gilbert III||1||73|