Toms, Jimenez and Pride share lead after rainy Sanford International start
SIOUX FALLS -- Through cold and wet conditions on Friday, some top names headline the first-round leaderboard at the Sanford International PGA Tour Champions event at Minnehaha Country Club in Sioux Falls.
David Toms and Miguel Angel Jimenez closed with rounds of 5-under-65, matching surprise Friday front-runner Dicky Pride for the first-round lead. Weather included temperatures in the 50s and near constant precipitation throughout the round, including periods of heavy rain.
Toms, who won the 2018 U.S. Senior Open for his lone senior tour victory, used four back nine birdies, including back-to-back birdies on holes 16 and 17 to bring himself into the lead. In all, he had seven birdies after starting 1-over through 3 holes.
“I had a good up-and-down actually to make bogey on No. 3 and I think that kind of turned the tide a little bit, I started hitting better golf shots,” he said. “So if I can give myself some more opportunities, maybe I can shoot a good low round. Obviously 5-under is solid today in the weather we played in and I'm very happy with it.”
Jimenez, who has won in each of the last seven PGA Tour Champions seasons, was 2-under on his front nine before eagling the par-5 12th hole to get toward the front of the pack. He had birdies on the 15th and 16th holes and dropped a shot on the 18th to put him in a three-way tie for the lead after the first round.
Pride, who is looking for his first Champions victory in his third career start on the tour, is coming back from a thumb injury and has played just once this year. He’s in the tournament on a sponsor’s exemption, and said he wrote tournament director Hollis Cavner to try to play in Sioux Falls.
Pride had six birdies without a bogey until the ninth hole, his final hole to play for the day, when he had a par putt lip out, finishing with a 65.
“It's the most difficult thing for a tournament director as far as dealing with the players because there are a lot of very -- a lot of people that deserve them. So I'm just very thankful to Sanford to extend the invitation to play is a huge boost to my Champions Tour career and it means a lot to me.”
Jerry Kelly, Paul Goydos, Paul Broadhurst and Steve Flesch are in the pack at 4-under-par after rounds of 66. Steve Stricker, who won the inaugural Sanford International in 2018, is two shots off the lead with a 3-under-67.
Fan favorite John Daly, who announced Thursday he has been diagnosed with bladder cancer, had a round of 2-under-68 and is tied for 11th. He recently had surgery on a tumor on his bladder and described himself as being tired on Friday, but said he “can’t just sit at home, it’s just going to get in my mind and it’s going to make me feel worse.”
“I never thought I would see me getting to 50, so every year after that it's just a gold medal for me,” said the 54-year-old Daly.
Also in the 2-under group is Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples, Scott McCarron, Tom Lehman and Ernie Els.