STRANGELY FAMILIAR SCRIPT AT OAK HILL
KitchenAid Senior PGA Champion Paul Broadhurst, 53, is mounting quite a title defense. With a two-day total of 137, which includes Friday's 3-under-par 67, Broadhurst is tied for the lead with Esteban Toledo. Broadhurst is on hallowed ground for defending champions, as Curtis Strange finished his back-to-back script on the East Course at the 1989 U.S. Open (he won the 1988 U.S. Open at The Country Club). Broadhurst, who played bogey-free golf Friday (only player in the field to do this), added birdies on Nos. 7, 10, and 11. He has never led or co-led a PGA Tour Champions Major at the 36-hole mark.
To date, six players have won consecutive KitchenAid Senior PGA Championships: Colin Montgomerie (2014, '15), Hale Irwin (1996, '97, '98), Sam Snead (twice: 1972, '73; '64, '65), Paul Runyan (1961, '62), Al Watrous (1950, '51) and Eddie Williams (1942, '45, '46/no Championships from 1943-44 due to WWII). Broadhurst is bidding to become the seventh.
"Moving Day" is most often associated with Saturday in the game of golf, but Esteban Toledo made his move Friday. After holding serve with an even-par 70 on Thursday, Toledo's 67 Friday afternoon gave him a share of the 36-hole lead in the 2019 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, along with Defending Champion Paul Broadhurst.
Toledo, 56, is a four-time winner on the PGA Tour Champions, but his best finish in a PGA Tour Champions major came at the 2015 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at French Lick Resort, when he finished alone in second, four shots behind Colin Montgomerie. Toledo fashioned five birdies on Friday and was in the lead after 16 holes, but a bogey on 17 relegated him into a tie for the top spot.
Toledo withdrew from last year's KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship after one round due to a back injury.
ONLY FOUR LIVING UNDER PAR
At the halfway mark of the 2019 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, only four players are under par: Paul Broadhurst (-3), Esteban Toledo (-3), Retief Goosen (-1) and Scott Parel (-1).
There were only four sub-par rounds turned in on Friday, as opposed to 15 in Thursday's wet and windy Opening Round.
North Florida’s Mike Miles, Southern Ohio’s Bob Sowards lead eight PGA Club Professionals earning weekend berths
Former PGA Professional Champion Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio, and Mike Miles of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, held steady while Oak Hill Country Club threw up its best defense Friday, to lead eight PGA Club Professionals earning weekend berths in the 80th KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
Sowards and Miles were among 35 PGA Club Professionals in the field. They were joined for the weekend by Mark Brown of Oyster Bay, New York; Omar Uresti of Austin, Texas; Chad Proehl of Urbandale, Iowa; Mark Mielke of Atlantis, Florida; Stuart Smith of Reno, Nevada; and Jared Melson of Tullahoma, Tennessee. The eight-member delegation were the largest number of PGA Club Professionals to make the cut since 2016, when 10 played the weekend. Overall, 78 players made the 36-hole cut of 9-over-par 149.
Sowards, who captured the 2004 PGA Professional Championship, is the reigning Senior PGA Professional Champion and Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year. Since turning 50, Sowards is making the most of his debut in the senior ranks. His debut in this Championship included posting a 3-over-par 73 and a 36-hole total of 4-over-par 144. All of that came after seven three-putt greens over two days.
After competing in 10 PGA Championships, including two at Oak Hill (2003 and 2013), Sowards said things are “definitely different” in a senior major.
“The attitude of the players is a lot more laid back. It's completely different,” said Sowards. “But in the same respect, they play championship golf courses, and it's very similar as far as how it's set up for the regular majors. It’s maybe a little shorter, but it's just as tough.”
Sowards said that he has paced himself in preparing for his appearance at Oak Hill Country Club.
“I was a lot more laid back coming into this one,” he said. “I didn't practice till my hands bled, and just kind of went with my normal routine, practicing every now and then when I have time and playing on Mondays. But didn't really change much from the normal schedule this time.
“The two PGAs that I played here just completely beat me up. But I didn't hit the driver like I do now. I'm hitting the driver long and straight and making it a lot easier than hitting it short and crooked like I did the first two times I played here. But hopefully I can keep hitting it like I am and make a few putts and get back in the tournament.”
Miles, a 57-year-old PGA Director of Instruction at The Oakbridge Club at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, had a 75 after a Thursday gem of 69.
“The course is just hard,” said Miles, who made his first cut in three appearances. “If you get off the fairways, whether it's by the greens or in the fairway, it's a whole different ball game. You're trying to basically almost not make double bogey and make sure you make 5.”
The field will get an early start Saturday to stay ahead of anticipated rain showers.
“I'm going to switch gears,” said Miles. “It's great for me to make the cut. That might not be a great goal, but for me I get to play two more. Now I can kind of relax and it doesn't mean a whole lot to me. My life doesn't change unless I won the tournament. If I finish fifth, I still go back to work at a great place. So, it's going to be fun for me.”
Stuart Smith, the PGA Director of Golf at Somersett Golf & Country Club in Reno, Nevada, was at 9-over-par 149 to make the cut on the number. It was a measure of redemption for Smith, who led the 2018 Championship after an opening 66 only to struggle home with an 83 and miss the cut.
Smith underwent three surgeries on his right eye last December and has recovered to be competitive again. “I feel fine and am glad to be here,” said Smith. “I limped coming in with a pair of bogeys. Don’t know if that was good enough.” When he learned that he had made the cut, Smith was smiling broadly. “It’s great to have help from others out there,” he said.
KEEPIN' IT IN THE FAIRWAY (CLUB)
The KitchenAid Fairway Club was standing room only this afternoon for Chefs Tom Colicchio and Joe Zolnierowski. The live cooking demos continue tomorrow with Celebrity Chef Alex Guarnaschelli and Oak Hill’s very own Chef Christopher Roth.
At 10 a.m. tomorrow, 150 youngsters from PGA Junior League and Big Brothers Big Sisters will descend on the KitchenAid Fairway Club for a special Smoothie Race before getting inside the ropes access at the 13th hole green.