SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Wes Short, Jr., Jeff Freeman, Doug Garwood and Bill Glasson all carded 7-under 64s to share the first-round lead at the Champions Tour Q-School at TPC Scottsdale.
With conditions ideal for scoring, Short started the event with a five-foot eagle putt on his first hole (par-5 10th) and then added five more birdies on his next 10 holes.
Short then had seven consecutive pars for his 64.
A winner of the 2005 Michelin Championship at Las Vegas on the PGA Tour, Short has had back problems over the past three years and played on the PGA Tour on a major medical extension. He made the cut at the Shell Houston Open, his first on the PGA Tour since 2007.
“I hit it close four times over the first eight holes and it was nice to start off with an eagle,” Short said. “I then made a 30-footer for birdie at No. 18 and another 30-footer for birdie at the second hole.
“It was just a perfect day to play and if you kept the ball in play off the tee, you were going to have short irons into these holes. It’s a four-day event and I need to keep playing like I did today.”
Garwood, who played just five tournaments on the Champions Tour this year after turning 50 in late March, finished tied for second at the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach and tied for seventh in his debut on the circuit at The Principal Charity Classic.
He came into the event nursing an injury to his rib cage, but it didn’t seem to bother him on Tuesday. He made eight birdies and also had a three-putt bogey on his round.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to play today, but I took three Advils this morning and was good. When you have conditions like this, you can make lots of birdies and I was able to do that. It was nice to get off to this kind of a start, especially how I was feeling coming in here,” Garwood said.
Glasson, a winner of seven PGA Tour titles, used a pair of eagles on both of the par-5s on the back nine to also get in at 7 under for the day. He’s trying to achieve fully exempt status for next season after finishing 33rd on the 2013 money list with $459,277.
Like Glasson, Freeman, the 2011 Q-School medalist and a conditionally exempt player in 2013 after he tied for eighth at last fall’s national qualifying tournament, went bogey-free on his round, opening his day with birdies on four of his first five holes.
There will be no cut in the 72-hole qualifier. At the end of four rounds, the top five finishers earn fully-exempt status through the re-order in the 2014 season, while the next seven players will be conditionally exempt. In addition, the top 30 finishers and ties will be eligible to compete for spots in open qualifiers at all co-sponsored events on the Champions Tour in 2014.