Haas Day 1 Leader at Sr PGA

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PGA of AmericaROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Joyful memories came rushing back to Bernhard Langer as he drove through the gates of Oak Hill on Monday to prepare for the Senior PGA Championship.
 
He looks eager to fashion a few new highlights.
 
The Champions Tour newcomer, already a three-time winner, shot a 1-over 71 at the punishing Donald Ross-designed course to land in a tie for fourth after Thursdays opening round. Hes two strokes behind Jay Haas'the only player to beat par on a brisk, blustery day when extra layers of clothing were a must.
 
You dont win a tournament the first day, said Langer, part of the European Ryder Cup team that scored a stunning comeback victory at Oak Hill in 1995. Im just trying to be near the leaders going into the weekend.
 
New Jersey golf pro Bill Britton briefly took the lead late in the afternoon, getting to 2-under through 14 before catching a pair of bogeys when he three-putted No. 6 and then landed his approach shot in the bunker on No. 8. He finished at 70 alongside local favorite Jeff Sluman.
 
Langer was in a logjam of nine players, including Scott Hoch, Ian Woosnam and Eduardo Romero. Defending champion Denis Watson from Zimbabwe and Greg Norman were in another group of nine who shot 72.
 
Haas, attempting to win his second Senior PGA in three years, got as low as 3-under with a 15-foot birdie putt at the par-5 No. 13. But he was undone by two bogeys that followed errant tee shots'one that landed behind a tree on No. 16, and one into the lip of a fairway bunker on No. 18.
 
Haas has now shot 1-under in each of his past three rounds at Oak Hill, dating to the final two rounds of the 2003 PGA Championship in which he finished in a tie for fifth.
 
It was pretty miserable this morning, everybodys got long johns on and ski caps and wind-breakers, said Haas, who was happy to head straight to his warm hotel room to watch everyone else deal with the elements.
 
The temperature edged up from the low 40s into the 50s in the afternoon but the wind gathered pace too, gusting above 20 miles an hour to create additional havoc on the narrow, tree-lined fairways at Oak Hills East Course.
 
Well, I survived. And thats what it is, a survival test, said Tim Simpson, who flirted with the lead before carding a 71.
 
Langer is playing Oak Hill for the fourth time in his career and views the 7,001-yard East course as very, very difficult even in fine weather. Since joining the Champions Tour after turning 50 last August, however, he feels like he has a leg up on the competition again.
 
Theres a saying, Once you turn 50 theres not many tournaments that are won by 60-year-olds, the two-time Masters champion and former Ryder Cup captain said. Maybe five or 10 years make a difference. The body starts aching more, you lose some muscle strength and some flexibility. So I would think the guys between 50 and 55 definitely have more chance than 60 or 65 on an average.
 
We wouldnt be here if we were not competitive, Langer said, adding that he prefers the Champions Tour camaraderie.
 
On the PGA TOUR, its many times just business while on the Champions Tour the guys all hang out together, he said. Its not all about building a career, you know? Many of us have made a living already, were out here to play golf for fun. And thats the great part.
 
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