A weather delay cut short the first day of action at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in Tulsa, Okla., but not before a pair of golfers could stake early leads on the rest of the field.
Alex Cejka of Germany shot a 3-under-par 67 in the early going, while American Steve Stricker also ended his day at 3-under through seven holes before play was suspended at Southern Hills Country Club.
Cejka, fresh off his first major tournament win in the Regions Tradition three weeks ago, hit three straight birdies on holes No. 3 through 5 and totaled six birdies against three bogeys.
“Yeah, it frees you up,” Cejka said of grabbing an early spot atop the leaderboard. “It gives you a little bit confidence, but you still have to grind, you still have to focus. There’s so many great players and everybody plays great, so you got to keep pushing, try your best and fight for every shot.”
Cejka noted his drives in particular as a big part of his recent success, but he also spoke to the importance of an overall game.
“I feel good the last couple of weeks in general with the whole game,” Cejka said after his fifth start on tour. “Putting’s been great. Obviously to win tournaments you have to have the whole package. You got to drive well, chip well, putt well, you got to get lucky, and that’s part of the game too.
“So far I’ve been hitting well, chipping well, putting well, hopefully I keep going like this.”
Stricker also got off to a good start Thursday with three birdies in his first five holes, an interesting development following his own performance at the Tradition. Stricker battled before losing to Cejka to a sudden-death playoff in that tournament.
Stricker has finished in the top five in each of his last five starts, dating back to August.
Current Charles Schwab Cup leader Bernhard Langer, who won this event in 2017, sits at 1-under after six holes and is tied for 11th.
Every group in the 156-player field was able to tee off their opening round and complete at least four holes before play was halted.
–Field Level Media
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