SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Blustery conditions kept scoring in check on the opening day of the Sanford International Friday in Sioux Falls, but Kirk Triplett holds sole control of the PGA Tour Champions event lead.
Triplett, who has won once and finished second three times this year, got things going in the middle of the round, with birdies on Holes No. 8 and 9. He gave a stroke back on No. 10 before birdieing the remaining par-5s on the 97-year-old course — holes No. 12 and 16, before adding a birdie on the par-3 17th to close the round with a 4-under-66. Triplett entered the day ranked 10th in the Charles Schwab Cup season points list.
England’s Paul Broadhurst posted a 3-under-67, with that margin all created on his second nine of the day after starting on Hole No. 10. His highlight of the day included an eagle on No. 5. Tom Gillis joined Broadhurst in a tie for second place at 3-under-par with a late run on the back nine, getting hot with back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th holes.
Woody Austin posted six birdies on the day but finished with a 2-under-68 and was alone in fourth place. The 77-player field’s scoring average was 72.11 on Friday, well above last year’s three-day average of 70.02 per round. Twenty-seven players were able to shoot par or better on the opening day, but only 12 were able to finish under par.
Among the other notable finishes Friday: Onida native Tom Byrum posted an even-par 70. Also in at even-par were season points leader Scott McCarron, Minnesota native Tom Lehman and Jerry Kelly, the Wisconsinite who won last week in Michigan and ranks No. 2 in the season’s standings. Fan-favorite John Daly shot a round of 72 and was 2-over, while five-time Champions Tour season champion Bernhard Langer finished 5-over for his round, shooting 75 in his Sioux Falls debut.
Tournament play continues on Saturday and Sunday. The event has no cut, and the champion will receive $270,000.