DES MOINES, Iowa — Bernhard Langer is on quite a roll as he tries to become the first in seven years to win three straight PGA Tour Champions events. After one round in Iowa, he’s tied with two golfers who’ve never won on the senior circuit.
Langer, Kevin Sutherland and Glen Day each shot 6-under 66 to share the opening-round lead Friday.
Langer won the last two tournaments, both majors, and is seeking to become the first on the 50-and-over tour with three consecutive wins since Fred Couples in 2010.
Six players shot 5-under 67s at the Wakonda Club, including Mark Calcavecchia and Scott McCarron.
Calcavecchia won at Wakonda in 2015 and McCarron rallied for his first senior victory a year ago.
Langer, who has nearly made $1.7 million so far this season to lead the tour, won the Regions Tradition by five shots and the recent Senior PGA Championship by a stroke.
Langer had struggled previously in Iowa, but he birdied No. 18 to pull into a tie for the lead.
“I’ve never cracked it,” Langer said of the course. “I played very solid. Hit a lot of fairways, lot of greens, and gave myself opportunities.”
Sutherland has seven top-10s this season and is fifth in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, but he has yet to enter the winner’s circle.
Sutherland, whose only PGA Tour win came at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship 15 years ago, played largely mistake-free golf and scored multiple birdies on par 3, 4 and 5s.
“Little shots here and there are preventing me from getting really close to winning or winning at all,” Sutherland said
Day, who finished outside of the top 40 in four of his first seven starts, hit an eagle on the par-5 15th to highlight his round.
Calcavecchia made himself a fan favorite two years ago by wearing bacon-themed pants in a state famous for its pork production.
On Friday, Calcavecchia sandwiched four birdies around a bogey on the par-4 sixth hole, and he responded to another miscue on the back nine with a birdie putt on No. 17, a par-3.
McCarron made six birdies on the back nine after a slow start.
The players in or near the lead figure to have an added advantage this weekend, with temperatures nearing 100 degrees and strong wind gusts expected.
“With the weather coming in and the win, supposedly, it’s great. I thought about that this morning, trying to make as many birdies as I can to get off to a great start because we don’t know what the weekend is going to bring,” Day said.