9 things to know from 2019 Senior PGA Championship Thursday
Before this week, Scott Parel had never played Oak Hill. For at least one round his naivete paid off, as he kicked off his fourth appearance in the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship with a four-under, 66. Parel's 66 Thursday matched his low round of the year (he carded a 66 in the second round of the Regions Tradition earlier this month). Parel won twice last year in his second full year on the PGA TOUR Champions. His best finish in a senior Major is a T-2 at the 2017 Regions Tradition.
FIRST-ROUND PLAY SUSPENDED
First-round play in the 80th KitchenAid Senior Championship was suspended at 11:29 a.m. (ET) due to dangerous weather conditions. Play resumed at 1:45 p.m. after a delay of 2:16. During the suspension of play, Oak Hill's East Course received 0.1 inch of rain. Due to the aforementioned suspension of play, all afternoon starting times began 1 hour and 50 minutes later than the starting times originally posted.
FROM ROTY TO KITCHENAID SENIOR PGA CHAMPION
Each of the past three KitchenAid Senior PGA Champions share the distinction of winning the PGA TOUR Champions Rookie of the Year: Paul Broadhurst (2016 Rookie of the Year, 2018 Champion); Bernhard Langer (2008, 2017); and Rocco Mediate (2013, 2016). Ken Tanigawa (T-2) earned the honor a season ago in 2018.
An opening-round 68 was a welcoming development for Jeff Maggert, who has won two Majors since joining the PGA TOUR Champions in 2014. Maggert finished T-9 in his initial KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in 2014, but since then, his finishes have trended in the wrong direction (T-22 in 2015, T-31 in '16, T-59 in '17, Missed Cut in '18). Maggert has played well of late, however, posting top-10s in four of his last five outings, including a T-3 in the Hoag Classic in early March.
CLARKE CATCHES GROOVE EARLY
Making his KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship debut this week, Darren Clarke caught fire early in the first round at Oak Hill Country Club. Clarke birdied five of his first seven holes, including three straight to start his round.
TOUGH SLEDDING FOR RECENT CHAMPS
The four most recent players to win the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship are a combined seven-over par through the first round: Colin Montgomerie (+4); Rocco Mediate (+1); Bernhard Langer (+2); and Paul Broadhurst (E).
MILES STARTS STRONG FOR PGA CLUB PROFESSIONALS
There are 35 PGA Club Professionals contending in the 80th KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, and Mike Miles is off to the best start with a 1-under-par 69. It’s his best round in five rounds in the Championship. He missed the cut in 2013 and 2016.
A decade ago, Miles competed in the 2009 U.S. Open and PGA Championship, which would be two gems a PGA Club Professional might want to frame on a mantelpiece. But the PGA Director of Instruction at The Oakbridge Club at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, is just getting started.
He’s busy helping renovate the former Ponte Vedra Golf and Country Club into a 21st century complex that is targeting those who have strayed away from golf or continue to rely on the argument of the time commitment to play the game. Beginning in January 2020, The Oakbridge Club will become a 12-hole layout. The City of Ponte Vedra approved the redesign recently, which excites Miles.
“We’re going to shorten the golf experience and make it great,” he said. “Demographics have changed in golf and we want to bring back more to the game.”
Meanwhile, Miles is busy competing in another major championship. He was one of the fortunate to have an early tee time Thursday and finished after a rain delay and before gusty wind extended to cause golfers bigger problems on Oak Hill Country Club.
What made Miles’ day even better was holing a pair of monster putts.
“We had the rain delay, and then we came out, No. 1 was my 10th hole,” said Miles. “I left my approach short of the green, about 50 paces off the green. I had a 50-footer up to the hole and holed it with a putter. And, then on No. 9, I hit two good shots up on the green. The wind was howling. And, again, it was probably -- you know, it was a good 45 feet. Hit the back of the hole and went up in the air and kind of sat there for about five seconds and went right down into the hole.
“To shoot 1-under, I'm always thinking I'm going to win the tournament, but be realistic, I just try to hit some good shots. But to shoot 1-under now, you know, I'm playing well, swinging good, I may as well think I can stand up there.”
PAUL CLAXTON OF CLAXTON, GEORGIA
What’s in a name? Sometimes pure coincidence. And other times, fruitcake. Yes, fruitcake. Approximately, five million pounds of it each year. PGA Life Member Paul Claxton, of Claxton, Georgia, married into the family that has owned Claxton Bakery, proud producers of fruitcake since 1945. The fruitcakes are named after the town of Claxton, which has a water tower that proudly proclaims it as the “Fruitcake Capital of the World.” Paul’s wife, Paula Parker Claxton, is the granddaughter of the first family member to own the company, the late Albert Parker. After Paula and Paul were married, she insisted they live in the town of Claxton. Meanwhile, when Paul Claxton isn’t competing, he is teaching golf 73 miles away at Brunswick (Georgia) Country Club.
The Claxtons go a step further in the name game. The given names of Paul and Paula’s children are. . . Paul and Paula, but the children prefer not to cause any more confusion in the household and answer to the names of Parker and Polly. And, the names of the parents of Claxton’s wife, Paula? Believe it or not, Paul and Paula Parker. That’s three different generations of Paul and Paula.
KITCHENAID FAIRWAY CLUB
Chefs Stephanie Izard and Steve Eakins drew large crowds in the KitchenAid Fairway Club as they kicked off the live cooking demonstrations today. Tomorrow, Chefs Tom Colicchio and Joe Zolnierowski will be demonstrating their skills – same time, same place. Tonight, New York Kitchen is teaming up with KitchenAid for a hands-on ‘Cooking on the Course’ event in the KitchenAid Fairway Club. Friday, KitchenAid is announcing its first of four $5,000 Shopping Spree winners.