AKRON, Ohio — Steve Stricker shot a 7-under 63 on Thursday at Firestone Country Club to take a four-stroke lead in the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship.
“I just managed my game well, I think,” Stricker said. “Difficult day. We got some wind and the breeze picked up especially on the second nine, but really kept it in play for the most part. A couple good up-and-downs that kept the momentum going.”
Stricker had a bogey-free round on the South Course, opening with a 5-under 30 on the back nine. The 54-year-old U.S. Ryder Cup captain added birdies on Nos. 3 and 8 on his second nine.
“It’s a good golf course,” Stricker said. “You have to really pay attention here. You’ve got to put it in play off the tee, which I did for the most part today. And I putted well, so all in all, I did everything — I did everything pretty well.”
The tournament is the third of the five majors on the PGA Tour Champions schedule. Stricker has six senior victories — two of them major championships — after winning 12 times on the PGA Tour.
Ken Duke and Paul Broadhurst were tied for second.
Defending champion Jerry Kelly, coming off a victory two weeks ago in the American Family Insurance Championship in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, was six strokes back at 69 with Marco Dawson, Bob Estes, Gene Sauers and Stephen Leaney.