WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. – Following his lowest PGA Tour round since the 2007 Valero Texas Open, 50-year-old Neal Lancaster echoed a common refrain of elder-statesman golfers everywhere.
“That ball doesn’t know how old you are,” he said with a smile.
Lancaster posted a 5-under 65 in his Greenbrier Classic opening round Thursday, leaving him just three strokes off the lead. Perhaps just as impressive, he led a triumvirate of 50-and-over players no longer competing regularly on the PGA Tour who each broke par in the first round.
“It would be nice to get nervous one time on a weekend instead of trying to make a cut on Friday or something,” he said. “I've been trying to play that Champions Tour; I can't get out there, it's too tough.
“You never know, if I can hang in there and just try to walk slow and not try, just kind of play it and hope for the best and expect the worst. That's what I'm going to try to do.”
One week removed from winning his first career major at the Senior Players Championship, Kenny Perry felt like he had another super-low round in the works before finishing with a 2-under 68.
“I shoot 29 on the front nine and I’m thinking I’m going to shoot in the 50s,” Perry admitted. “I’ve got two Seth Raynor [designs] back-to-back, I’m thinking, here we go, rock and roll. And then I hit two bad approach shots on 14 and 15 and made bogey, and that just kind of derailed me.”
Tom Watson similarly had things going for a while and also posted a 68 on Thursday, though he said it could have been even better.
“My game today was good,” he said. “I drove the ball well, kept the ball in play off the tee and hit some quality iron shots, and I had a lot of opportunities with the putter that I didn't convert so I left some strokes out there. So I felt like it could have been a better round. It wasn't one of those rounds where I got the best out of it; I think I left some strokes out there, but that's good because one of these days maybe I'll get them all, get all those strokes out there.”