John Daly notched his best round ever in a PGA Tour Champions event on Friday to earn a share of the first-round lead in the TimberTech Championship at Boca Raton, Fla.
Daly and Jim Furyk both logged 8-under 64s at The Old Course at Broken Sound. Daly claimed eight birdies, an eagle on the par 5 No. 18, and had two bogeys. It was Daly's lowest round in a PGA-sanctioned event since 2014.
"I haven't done that in a long time," Daly said. "But the putter felt really, really good today and these greens are so good that if you get on a little roll, it helps."
Daly, 54, revealed his battle with bladder cancer in early September. He has just one top 10 finish on the Champions circuit this season, but will be in the running this weekend. He admitted he's trying to "stay busy" during his medical ordeal, and took pride in trying to adhere to his health plan during Friday's round.
"Trying to drink the right stuff, but it's hard to take Diet Coke away from me. I was proud of myself, I only smoked six cigarettes today," Daly said. "Usually I smoke about a pack and a half, so I was proud of myself because usually I smoke a lot more on the course than I do off. I'm trying to cut back, but hell, who knows. Can't quit instantly."
Furyk finished with nine birdies and one bogey. He was 5 under through eight holes, and then finished with birdies on his last two holes. A two-time winner in his first season on the Champions circuit, Furyk has posted 12 under-par rounds out of his 13 on the tour.
"Just trying to put the ball on the fairway, put the ball on the green, give myself some looks and probably did my best putting there on the back nine," Furyk said.
Defending TimberTech champion Bernhard Langer, as well as Sweden's Robert Karlsson, Duffy Waldorf and Scott Parell all share third place after coming in at 7 under
Waldorf's 65 was his best round since another 65 to start the 2019 U.S. Senior Open. Karlsson was 5 under on the final five holes of the front nine, including an eagle on the par 4 No. 7.
Langer, a native of Germany, started the tournament ranked No. 2 in the Charles Schwab Cup race and posted a bogey-free round. Precision is critical, Langer said, as he can no longer match the driving prowess of his Champions tour competition.
"There's so many good players on this tour that you can't have a bad day, you've got to be there knocking on the door or be within range if you want to have a chance to lift the trophy on Sunday," Langer said. "And that's my goal, stay right with the leaders, so hopefully sneak ahead at some point."
--Field Level Media