PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Esteban Toledo and defending champion Paul Broadhurst both shot rounds of 3-under 67 to share the clubhouse lead at 3-under-par the 2019 Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club.
Toledo rebounded from an opening bogey with birdies on Nos. 2, 5 ,6, 13 and 14 to move up the leaderboard. He birdied the 17th hole on a day when only four players were under-par for the round with about an hour left to play.
Broadhurst, who started on the 10th hole, birdied his first two holes before making 11 straight pars. He birdied the par-4 seventh to get to 3-under and finished out with two pars for a bogey-free round.
Broadhurst is looking to become the first repeat champion since Colin Montgomerie in 2014 and ’15.
First-round leader Scott Parel and two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen are two shots back at 1-under while John Riegger and Jerry Kelly are even through two rounds.
Record crowd on Friday
Not that this should come as much of a surprise given Rochester’s passion for golf, but the PGA of America announced Friday afternoon that the gallery for was the largest ever for a second round in the Senior PGA.
“We saw crowds that we haven’t seen for a long time spilling down the gates and onto the golf course, and it was exciting for us to watch,” said tournament director Bryan Karns of the PGA of America. “Every metric we use to measure success, not only were we hitting it, we were blowing by it, so I don’t think it was any surprise – great forecast for Friday, great field, we were really excited about what could happen today and it did.”
Karns said the organization doesn’t reveal actual attendance numbers, but they know how many people are coming through the gates and “we wanted to give Rochester the recognition it deserves. We’ve been doing this 80 times, going back to 1937, so for us to have that record set at Oak Hill means a lot. I think it’s important for the legacy of this as a golf community. There were a few moments today when you look at those crowds and you’re kind of speechless. This is how you draw it up.”
PGA club pro Miles in the mix
One of the unique aspects of PGA of America major tournaments is that club pros who make up the rank and file of the organization across the country get the opportunity to play in the PGA Championship and Senior PGA.
This week, 35 club pros are in the field at Oak Hill, and Mike Miles from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, posted the best first-round score, a 1-under 69. Miles previously played in the 2013 and 2016 Senior PGAs, and the 69 was his best score of the five rounds he has now played.
Miles, who tees off at 2:15 Friday, was fortunate to play Thursday morning before the weather got nasty. “To shoot 1-under, I’m always thinking I’m going to win the tournament, but be realistic, I just try to hit some good shots,” he said. “But to shoot 1-under now, you know, I’m playing well, swinging good, I may as well think I can stand up there.”
When he returns to Florida, he’ll get back to work on renovating the former Ponte Vedra Golf and Country Club into a 12-hole layout, a nod to those who stay away from golf because it takes too long to play 18 holes.
“We’re going to shorten the golf experience and make it great,” he said. “Demographics have changed in golf and we want to bring back more to the game.”