06/09/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/09/2023 17:16
Justin Leonard tops the first-round leaderboard of the 2023 American Family Insurance Championship, after shooting a 10-under 62 Friday, a tournament record. He leads four players by three shots, including Paul Broadhurst, Marco Dawson, Steve Stricker and Steven Alker.
Leonard opened with birdies on four of his first five holes and four of four of his six last en route to a bogey-free 10-under 62, marking the course record at University Ridge Golf Course. Leonard hit 11 of 13 fairways and missed only one green in regulation (par-4 18th).
"Everything was working today. I've been driving the ball very well," said Leonard. "You know, my iron game for a few weeks wasn't as great. I didn't wake up thinking I was going to shoot 62. Honestly, I lost track of where I was, which is the goal each and every day, trying to not focus too much on score or a leaderboard. I've been really working on staying present and focusing on whatever the shot requires."
Tournament host Stricker, tied for second with three other players, shot a 7-under 65 in round one, in the process setting the all-time record among all PGA TOUR-sanctioned Tours for most consecutive rounds of par or better (53), breaking his tie at 52 with Tiger Woods; the streak began on June 26, 2022 with a final-round 6-under 65 at the 2022 U.S. Senior Open Championship (finished solo-second). Highlighted by three wins so far this season, Stricker has finished no worse than T8 (Cologuard Classic) in 10 starts.
"When I went out today, I wasn't focused on the record, I was just trying to get a good round under my belt, shoot a good round, get up in contention," said Stricker. "I saw Justin Leonard going deep, so that motivates me to get as many birdies as I can because you don't want to fall too far behind.
"As far as being back in Madison, an incredible turnout. Playing with Ernie (Els) and Steven Alker today, they both said it, how nice the people are and how supportive they are. A great turnout and we had and a wonderful day. It was perfect, a picture-perfect day."
Marco Dawson birdied six of his last eight holes, good for 7-under 65, in his bid for a fourth straight top-10 finish on PGA TOUR Champions.
Making his first start in the AmFam Champ, Steven Alker birdied four of his last six holes en route to a bogey-free 7-under 65.
Defending champion Thongchai Jaidee sits T62 at 2-over 74.
2019 and 2021 tournament winner Jerry Kelly carded an even-par 72 in his sixth start in the event; Kelly also netted runner-up honors in the 2018 event.
The second round of the tournament on Saturday, June 10, will feature the AmFam Champ Celebrity Foursome hosted by Andy North. Joining North, a Wisconsin native and two-time U.S. Open champion, will be 2023 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain and two-time major winner Zach Jonson, baseball Hall of Famer Derek Jeter and swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history.
The group will play a 9-hole exhibition for charity starting on the 10th hole following the final grouping of tournament play. The expected tee time is 2 p.m.
# # #