TULSA, Okla. — Three weeks after beating Steve Stricker in a playoff within the Areas Custom for his first main title, Alex Cejka acquired off to a strong begin in his pursuit of a second.
Cejka led the morning wave with a 3-under 67 within the Senior PGA Championship at Southern Hills Nation Membership. Stricker additionally was 3 below, however had solely performed seven holes when a line of storms pressured the afternoon wave off the course at 3:48 p.m. Play was suspended for the day at 6 p.m.
After a bogey on the primary gap, Cejka birdied Nos. 3, 4 and 5, regardless of tough pin positions on the sloped Southern Hills greens on every. He added three extra birdies on the again 9.
Miguel Angel Jimenez, Mike Weir and John Riegger every shot 68, and Brett Quigley, Shaun Micheel, Gene Sauers, Larry Mize and John Huston adopted at 69.
A childhood refugee from communist Czechoslovakia who grew up in Germany, the 50-year-old Cejka was lengthy and correct off the tee, giving him the boldness to go on the flag even on pin positions that usually would name for a safer shot.
“I hit nice tee photographs which set me up with quick golf equipment to the inexperienced on 3 and 4, after which hit it in a greenside bunker on 5 and made a fantastic up-and-down from there,” Cejka mentioned. “In order that helped hitting large drives the place you instantly have a brief iron in. Particularly into these pins that had been tucked behind these bunkers they usually had been fairly tough. I did not count on it the primary day to have it arrange like this, however it’s robust.”
Cejka gained the PGA Tour’s 2015 Puerto Rico Open and in addition had victories on the European and Korn Ferry excursions.
“I am feeling nice,” Cejka mentioned. “I performed nice photographs, I hit quite a lot of fairways, quite a lot of greens, gave me quite a lot of good probabilities and I am very happy the place I am standing proper now after day one. I really feel good the final couple of weeks generally with the entire sport. Placing’s been nice. Clearly, to win tournaments it’s a must to have the entire bundle. You bought to drive properly, chip properly, putt properly, you bought to get fortunate, and that is a part of the sport too. Thus far I have been hitting properly, chipping properly, placing properly, hopefully I preserve going like this.”
Weir, who is also experiencing a resurgence in his sport, pulled a again muscle Tuesday and couldn’t bend over, not to mention swing a membership. After hours within the health trailer, he was capable of play and reached 4 below on the again 9 earlier than hitting right into a greenside bunker on 15 and a fairway bunker on 16, resulting in bogeys on each.
“I putted properly as we speak,” mentioned Weir, who made six birdies, together with a 20-footer on the primary gap and one he estimated at 40 ft on the par-5 thirteenth. I rolled the ball rather well. That was the large factor. My driving was a bit of off, however the placing was good and even those that did not go in felt good.”
Micheel, whose lone victory got here within the 2003 PGA Championship, mentioned the rolling greens on the restored Southern Hills course could be so treacherous that at occasions he missed the greens deliberately along with his strategy photographs, figuring out he may rise up and down from safer areas.
“There have been fairly just a few entrance pins,” Micheel mentioned. “The greens listed below are phenomenal, however the entrance pins are tough as a result of the greens are fairly agency. I deliberately missed a few greens simply due to that. Typically you simply have to do this. I name it simply form of take your medication a bit of bit and simply leaving your self the following alternative.”