BLAINVILLE, Quebec – Tom Wargo shot a 7-under 65 – the first time he has bettered his age in Champions Tour play – for a share of the first-round lead Friday in the inaugural Montreal Championship.
The 67-year-old Wargo, the former Centralia, Ill., club pro who won the last of his four Champions Tour titles in 2000, had a bogey-free round at Fontainebleau Golf Club to match Russ Cochran atop the leaderboard and also tie the course record.
“All you’re trying to do is put a score on the board and whatever it is, if it’s low and matches your age, that’s something to yap about, I guess,” Wargo said. “It’s nice to have one on the board because I haven’t been playing very good.
“I’m going to retire. The I’m going to plant a tomato patch and a few watermelons and some sweet corn.”
Jay Don Blake, Joey Sindelar, John Cook, Tom Purtzer, Jay Haas and James Mason opened with 66s in warm, sunny conditions.
Corey Pavin, who last Sunday was a stroke from winning a PGA Tour event but lost in a playoff to Bubba Watson, had a 68. Fred Couples, a three-time winner in his first season on the 50-and-over tour, shot a 69.
Wargo’s bogey-free round was his lowest since 2007.
“I haven’t been playing really good in the last three or four years,” he said. “Fiddling around trying to make beer money is all I’m trying to do.
“I’ve been slacking off and dropping my schedule down because at 67, you’re going down that other side of the hill pretty fast and I want to do some other things with my life before I hit the bottom. I found out there’s two parts to life – young and skinny, and old and fat. So take it from there.”
The 51-year-old Cochran caddied for Wargo years ago in Kentucky.
“What I remember about Tom is how he loved to play golf,” Cochran said. “We had a tournament there and you could call Tom and say, ‘It’s going to cost you $100 to get in and you can only win $200, but do you want to come?’ He’d say, ‘Yeah, I’ll be there.’ He has a good, hearty personality and he had a good time after the round.”
Wargo only played a handful of PGA Tour events before joining the seniors, but Cook said he is one of the non-tour regulars he “thoroughly enjoys” being around.
“He’s 67-years-old and he looks like he could take all of us into a room and beat us to a pulp,” Cook said with a laugh. “I love him.
“And to see him not only matching his age but blowing right by it – where else in the world could you see that happen?”