By Bob Denney, PGA of America
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The last time four players shared the first-round lead in a Senior PGA Championship, a King emerged victorious.
It was December 1984, at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and Arnold Palmer shared the top of the leaderboard with Jack Fleck, Doug Sanders and Bob Toski.
Palmer used a second-round 63 to snap the tie, and despite a third-round 79, held on to win by two strokes over Don January.
On Friday at Valhalla Golf Club, Tom Watson, Hale Irwin, Gil Morgan and Jay Haas finished the rain-delayed first round of the 65th Senior PGA Championship tied for the lead at 4-under 67.
Other Notes of Interest:
• Fifteen of the past 46 Senior PGA Championship winners (12 individuals) won the title by either sharing or holding the first-round lead alone.
• Dana Quigley made his record 245th consecutive start for which he's been eligible on the Champions Tour and played in his record 231st consecutive event overall. Quigley has played in every Champions Tour official event for the last six seasons.
• After almost 2 inches of rain fell in the Louisville area Wednesday night and Thursday morning, the start of the 65th Senior PGA Championship was delayed for two hours. Lift, clean and place rules were in effect when the first group eventually teed off at 9:30 a.m.
• Another thunderstorm moved into the area, and the first round was suspended for the day at 7:42 p.m. with 72 players still on the course. The round finally resumed at 4:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon and was completed at 6:51 p.m.
• After opening the 65th Senior PGA Championship with a triple-bogey 8 on No. 10, Terry Dill aced the 172-yard, par-3 11th hole. Dill's ace was the fifth on the Champions Tour this year and was only the second hole-in-one of his career (1999 Vantage Championship). Dill's hole-in-one was the first in a Senior PGA Championship since Morgan made an ace in the second round of the 2002 Championship at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.
• Mark Lye withdrew from the event before the start of his round due to a virus and was replaced in the field by David Armstrong of Dallas, Texas. Two-time U.S. Open champion Andy North withdrew from the event with a knee injury after an 11-over-par 82 on Thursday. Palmer withdrew with a hip injury after posting a 16-over 86 on Thursday. Bob Murphy withdrew Friday morning with a hand injury. Murphy was 8-over with one hole to play in his first round.
• One year after Craig Stadler made his debut at the Senior PGA Championship, Jay Haas made his first start on the Champions Tour on Thursday, but it took just over 22 hours to complete his first round on Friday. Haas, a winner of nine PGA TOUR titles, including a pair of Texas Open victories, made his first birdie on the par-3 11th hole (his second of the day) and ended up as one of the event's co-leaders after posting a 4-under 67. Haas became eligible for the Champions Tour when he turned 50 last Dec. 2.
• Since the beginning of the 2003 season, Tom Watson has now been a leader or co-leader in eight of 21 major championships rounds on the Champions Tour. Watson won both the Senior British Open and JELD-WEN Tradition last year.
• Irwin has now been a leader or co-leader in 11 of 32 total rounds played in this Championship. However, after being a leader/co-leader in 10 of his first 12 rounds at this event, Irwin's 4-under 67 yesterday returned him to the top spot for the first time since 1998 when he won his third straight Senior PGA Championship title.
• The par-4 ninth hole at Valhalla yielded just four birdies in the first round and played as the most difficult hole with a stroke average of 4.493. The first-round scoring average at Valhalla was 75.438, the highest on the Champions Tour thus far in 2004. Last year's scoring average at the par-70 Aronimink Golf Club for Round 1 was 74.246. Two years ago at Firestone, the first-round scoring average for the par-70, South Course was 75.260.
Copyright 2004 by PGA.com. All rights reserved.