BOCA RATON, Fla. – Jesper Parnevik shot a 9-under 63 on Friday in the Oasis Championship to take a one-stroke lead over Bernhard Langer.
Parnevik had four straight birdies on Nos. 4-7 on his final nine on The Old Course at Broken Sound. The 53-year-old Swede won the 2016 Insperity Invitational for his lone PGA Tour Champions victory.
He took the first-round lead a day after going into “panic mode” while struggling with his game.
“I probably tried 40 putters just this week and probably 50 different strokes,” Parnevik said. “Nothing was working. At the last second, I said I’ll do everything opposite from what I think. If I slide my hips like crazy, I feel like I’m hanging back, bam, that works. So I did that, which felt like terrible, but man, it was unbelievable. Man, I’m mostly shocked right now.”
Langer closed with birdies on Nos. 17 and 18.
“It’s a three-day event,” Langer said. “You can’t afford to have a mediocre day somewhere. You need three good rounds if you want to win the tournament. I played fairly solid golf most of the time, a couple of good up-and-downs, a couple long putts, so very happy with it.”
The 61-year-old German won the 2010 event and finished second last year, two strokes behind Mark Calcavecchia.
Woody Austin, Gene Sauers, Tim Petrovic and Ken Tanigawa shot 65 in the first full-field event of the season, and Tom Lehman, Kevin Sutherland, Tom Byrum and Marco Dawson followed at 66. Lehman won the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship last month in Hawaii.
Gary Nicklaus, the 50-year-old son of Jack Nicklaus, had a 67 in his PGA Tour Champions debut on a sponsor exemption. Nicklaus did not get through Champions qualifying last year.
“I was out of my element and kind of shaking like a leaf, which I didn’t expect,” he said. “But I kind of pulled it together, birdied the third hole and was off to the races.”
Fred Couples also opened with a 67.
Retief Goosen also made his senior debut, shooting 69. He will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in June.
John Daly opened with a 71, and Calcavecchia had a 72. Hal Sutton shot 73 in his first start on the tour since May 2017.
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