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Senior Players Championship led by Kenny Perry, Mike Small

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — Kenny Perry and Mike Small shot 7-under 65s to share a one-stroke lead within the first spherical of the Constellation Senior Players Championship on Thursday.

Bart Bryant, Glen Day and 2015 U.S. Senior Open champion Jeff Maggert had been one stroke again within the fourth of 5 majors on the PGA Tour Champions schedule.

Defending champion Scott McCarron was in a pack at 5 below, whereas three-time Senior Players winner Bernhard Langer and Vijay Singh had been one other shot again at Exmoor Country Club. David Toms, coming off a win on the U.S. Senior Open, shot 2 over.

The 57-year-old Perry and 52-year-old Small — the longtime Illinois golf coach — every made eight birdies and one bogey. Perry is in competition for his fifth senior main to go together with two U.S. Senior Opens (2013, 2017), a Senior Players Championship (2013) and the Regions Tradition (2014).

“I actually made some putts today,” Perry stated. “I’ve had a tough year this year.”

Surgery on his proper shoulder saved him out from November till late April. He has one top-10 end in seven begins this season.

Adding to his difficulties, Perry’s again flared up on him final week, when he bent over to select up a membership whereas working towards at residence in Kentucky. Next factor he knew, he was on the bottom after which speeding to see his chiropractor.

All that occurred as he was recovering from a bout with strep throat.

“I had played seven straight weeks in a row,” Perry stated. “It was terrible. … Seven weeks in a row was way too much golf for an old man, so I just said that was not what I needed to do anymore. Last week was horrible. I couldn’t do a lot. And then didn’t have a lot of expectations coming in here, but I hit the ball nice and finally made a few putts, and that’s why I shot a good score.”

Perry three-putted for bogey on the par-Four seventh and missed a Three-foot birdie putt on the par-Four 18th. Otherwise, his spherical was largely stress-free.

Small has by no means received on the PGA Tour Champions. And he did not really want to say what a victory on this occasion would imply.

“Well, that would be great, but there’s a lot of golf to go,” he stated. “So yeah, that would be awesome. That’s what we’re here for. Everybody is here to win.”

Bryant was 7 below earlier than ending with a bogey on 18. But he put himself in competition for his second senior victory to go together with the 2013 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.

Not dangerous, within the midst of what he referred to as a “very mediocre” season and a tough few years on and off the golf course. His spouse, Cathy, died of mind most cancers in April 2017, and Bryant completed outdoors the highest 10 in all 14 begins final season. He has one top-10 end in 10 occasions this 12 months. But a latest putter change has boosted his confidence.

Bryant ditched his Bobby Grace putter in favor of an Odyssey 2-Ball earlier than the ultimate spherical of the American Family Insurance Championship final month. He purchased it at a Dick’s Sporting Goods the evening earlier than, then shot a 66.

“My caddie and I were having dinner. He goes, ‘We’ve got to do something.’ I go, ‘Let’s go buy a putter,'” Bryant stated. “So I went and bought a putter, and that was the first time I had putted OK.”

Toms struggled on the greens after making lengthy putts on two of the ultimate three holes on the Broadmoor two weeks in the past to assist safe his first PGA Tour Champions victory.

The 2001 PGA Championship winner was 2 below earlier than lacking the inexperienced on the par-Three eighth, beginning a run of three consecutive bogeys and 4 in 5 holes.

Toms three-putted the par-Four ninth and hit a poor drive on No. 10.

“I still felt like I was playing OK,” he stated. “But all of a sudden, instead of being 3 or 4 under, I was over par. The wind was a little tricky that back nine. I never made any putts, so that was the difference today.”

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