Kevin Sutherland eagled his penultimate hole to join a four-way tie for the lead after one round of the Ascension Charity Classic on Friday in St. Louis.
Sutherland, Tim O’Neal, Billy Mayfair and South Korea’s Y.E. Yang opened the tournament with rounds of 7-under-par 64, tying the course record at Norwood Hills Country Club. Brian Gay and Wes Short Jr. were one shot back at 65.
Sutherland, 59, was the only co-leader to stay bogey-free Friday. After starting his round on the back nine, he was 5 under through 16 holes when he eagled the par-5 eighth hole.
Sutherland has won five times on the PGA Tour Champions, though not since February 2021. O’Neal, meanwhile, is going for his first win on the 50-and-older circuit after qualifying last year.
O’Neal, 51, holed out for eagle at his second hole of the day, the par-4 11th, and made five birdies on his second nine, including the final two holes.
“Like I said, it’s a process. I know that I have these rounds in me,” O’Neal said. “It’s just a matter of me just believing and not getting too distracted with other stuff going around. Guys are really good and playing well. Yeah, this definitely helps with confidence.”
Mayfair, 57, also has yet to win on the PGA Tour Champions. On Friday, he recovered from an opening bogey by rolling in six birdies in a seven-hole stretch on his opening nine, the back nine, draining a long putt from across the green at No. 18 for an exclamation point.
“I putted real well. That was probably my best thing,” Mayfair said. “But drove the ball well, and I love this golf course a lot, and this is our third year here and kind of getting used to it.”
Yang, 51, birdied five of his last eight holes for a strong finish.
Last year’s champion, Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, is not defending his title because he is playing the Irish Open. Harrington beat Yang by one stroke in 2022.