Takeaways from Thursday at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship
The first round of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship is in the books.
While Padraig Harrington – the winner of the 2008 PGA Championship – is out in front by two shots, there were a handful of other great stories from the first day at Fields Ranch East.
Here’s everything you need to know from Thursday in Frisco.
STEWART CINK MAKES SENIOR DEBUT
Stewart Cink, just two years removed from winning on the PGA Tour, made his PGA Tour Champions debut Thursday at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
Cink turned 50 on May 21 and opened his career on the over-50 circuit with a 4-under 68. He’s part of the big group tied for fifth, just four shots back of Harrington’s lead.
After a two-win tenure with his son Reagan as his caddie while Cink was in his late 40s, the younger Cink went back to “the real world” and got a job with Delta Airlines. Now Cink’s wife, Lisa, is on his bag and they’re enjoying the special time together.
“I like the way I'm playing. I like the way that my wife and I are working together on the course. We're having fun. That's really what it's all about,” Cink said. “When you have a good time, you have a good attitude and you're enjoying it, then lower scores tend to follow you.”
Cink said there were a lot of guys he was able to reconnect with after a few years including his playing partners for the opening round, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Robert Karlsson (both of whom also shot 4 under Thursday) and after almost three decades on the PGA Tour, Cink said debuting at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship was a treat.
“It’s a grind out here too. The guys play great. But it’s just, out here, it’s like grinding with a smile,” Cink said. “This has been a great, fun experience and I’m looking forward to the next three days.”
DAVIS LOVE III MAKES FIRST SENIOR PGA START
The 1997 PGA Championship winner is finally teeing it up at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
Davis Love III shot a 1-over 73 in his KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship debut Thursday. He started the day 4 over after nine holes but railed on his back nine, including making birdies on Nos. 17 and 18 to close out his round.
Love did not tee it up at the PGA Championship last week and admitted he’s had to make a grip and swing change to avoid some injury problems he’s been battling. But he said he felt good during his first round at Fields Ranch East.
“It's a work in progress, but I really wanted to play this golf course and obviously wanted to play the Senior PGA Championship. I've been at Colonial a lot instead of this Senior PGA and then I've been hurt, so it's nice to finally get to play in it,” Love said. “What a great place to start playing.”
UNDER-PAR OPENER FOR STEVEN ALKER
Steven Alker is looking to become the first golfer in nearly a decade to defend his title at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
But he’s got some work to do over the next three days if he wants to add his name to the record books.
Alker shot a 2-under 70 in Thursday’s opener. He started the day with a birdie on the par-4 3rd but bogeyed Nos. 6 and 9. Still, Alker battled back coming in and made back-to-back birdies on his final two holes to get into red figures.
The last golfer to successfully defend his title at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship was Colin Montgomerie in 2014-15.
ADILSON da SILVA MAKING MOST OF MAIDEN TRIP TO U.S.
It was a pretty good first round to the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship for Adilson da Silva.
In fact, it was a pretty good first round in the United States ever for the Brazilian pro, who shot a 5-under 67 and sits tied for third after 18 holes.
Da Silva turned 50 a year-and-a-half ago and started playing the Legends Tour in Europe last year. He’s won twice on that tour, including just last week. Since he finished runner-up on the Order of Merit there last season he earned his way into this week and the U.S. Senior Open.
Da Silva played last week in Austria and the week prior in South Africa, so it’s been a whirlwind for him to arrive in Frisco, but he’s excited to take advantage of the opportunity. And so far, so good.
“I’m really excited to be here,” da Silva said. “It's my first time to America and people say it's big and better and it is. It's an eye opener. It's an amazing place, amazing people, amazing golf course. It's just incredible.”