Alex Cejka wasn’t much more than a journeyman during his regular PGA Tour days but with two senior majors, it’s not surprising to see him show up at yet another major for the over-50 set.
Cejka, who won the Regions Tradition and the Senior PGA last year, shot a nifty six-under par 64 at challenging Firestone to take the first round lead at the Senior Players Championship.
Cejka started his day on the back nine. He birdied the seventh and ninth to cap off a bogey-free effort.
“I drove the ball well, which gives you a lot of chances when you’re in the fairway,” Cejka said. “I hit a lot of great iron shots where it gave me a lot of looks and putted well. So I drove it well, hit a lot of fairways, plus every time I kind of had a birdie chance, I took advantage. Every day is a little bit different. The rough is pretty severe. If you miss at some wrong spots here, it can be tough, but today was pretty flawless. It’s a pretty day, one of the few days where kind of everything is working — the short game and the putting and the driving. I’m very happy.”
Firestone was its usual challenging self for most of the field. David Toms shot 66 and was alone in second while Jerry Kelly and Ernie Els got off to good starts with 67s.
Schwab points leader Steve Alker headed a group of seven players in with 68s, including Miguel Angel Jimenez, second behind Alker in the Schwab Cup race.
Defending champion Steve Stricker kept himself in the thick of it with an even par round of 70.
Justin Leonard, making his senior debut, shot a three-over par 73, seven behind the leader.
Adam Svensson Dominates First Round At Barbasol:
Adam Svensson was a dominate player on the Korn Ferry Tour and he’s doing a good job of finding his way on the PGA Tour.
On Thursday, he put in a dominate effort with a 10-under par 62 at the Barbasol championship at the Keene Trace Golf Club outside Lexington, Ky.
Svensson has a lot to play for besides that first PGA Tour victory. A win here gives him a spot in next week’s Open Championship at St. Andrews. He’s also in good position to make the FedEx Cup playoffs in his rookie season. A pair of top 10s has him in the 98th spot in the FedEx rankings and he currently 158th in the world rankings.
He had an impressive scorecard on day one with seven birdies, two eagles and a single bogey on Keene Trace’s Champions course.
This event has players from both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour who are not in the Open Championship field. Ricardo Gouveia from Portugal was two shots off the lead with an eight-under par 64.
Scores were low in the first round as the Tour staff decided to play lift-clean-and-place from the outset as weather conditions were predicted to be threatening late in the afternoon.
“Par was probably around four-under,” said Kramer Hickok, who opened with 67.