82nd KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship
Credit: PGA

Chris DiMarco played nearly 20 years on the PGA Tour, but he’s still learning about himself and his game. 

Thursday, DiMarco got back to playing his game, the one that earned him top-10 finishes in each of the four majors on the PGA Tour, including runner-ups at the PGA Championship, Masters Tournament and Open Championship, as he carded an opening-round 67 at the 2022 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.

The 4-under par effort to open at Harbor Shores is one of DiMarco’s lowest rounds of the season. After his round, he told Golf Channel’s Jimmy Roberts that in recent weeks he realized he had been trying too hard to play someone else’s game and hit the ball too far. But Thursday, DiMarco forgot about trying to outdrive his competition and simply played his own game in a bid to secure his first top 10 of the season.

“I just finally realized I swing better when I swing within myself,” DiMarco said after his opening round. “I’m not trying to kill the ball out there, I'm just trying to hit the ball solid.”

And the three-time PGA Tour winner did just that in round one. He hit 11 of 12 fairways, only missing the short grass at the par 4 18th hole where he made a closing bogey to fall into a pack of players at four-under par. DiMarco was satisfied with the effort, especially given how long he was away from the game.

In 1994, DiMarco joined the PGA Tour and played his final, full season in 2012. He then spent a stint contributing to Golf Channel and took a four-year hiatus from playing competitive golf. DiMarco only started playing full-time on the PGA Tour Champions during the past two seasons and he says despite nearly two decades of playing on the PGA Tour he’s still trying to adjust to being back in competition.

LPGA player Stacy Lewis Golf Channel Visit
ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 08: LPGA player Stacy Lewis makes an appearance on the set of Morning Drive alongside Chris DiMarco and Charlie Rymer at the Golf Channel on January 8, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Credit: Getty Images

“People don’t realize how hard that's when you get out of that competitive mode,” DiMarco said about his time away from the game. “I’m trying to get more comfortable and more confident and be relaxed on the golf course.”

Thursday’s grouping at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship was a comfortable one for DiMarco who played alongside a pair of Michael Allen and Mike Small, two guys that Dimarco says he grew up competing against on the mini-tour circuit. And the friendly pairing made Dimarco’s second trip around Harbor Shores, he only saw the course for the first time on Wednesday, a seemingly easy one as he caught fire mid-round with five birdies in a six-hole stretch.

“I'm not afraid, really, to go to any pin and when you can do that, you can give yourself a lot of birdie opportunities and everybody knows that if you're putting for birdie, it's a lot easier than putting for par,” DiMarco said about his ball striking, “it takes the pressure off and you can go out and play golf.”

Thursday, DiMarco got back to playing the golf he enjoys - with friends, without pressure, and with the swing he knows well. With three more days of Dimarco-style golf, he could find himself, once again, with a top 10 in a major championship.

“I’m getting there,” DiMarco said about getting back into the game. “I’m not putting too much pressure on myself. I'm having fun.”

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