Chapman took the first-round lead at Harbor Shores. He was tied for 27th last year in the Senior PGA in Kentucky..
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) After playing only one event on the European Senior Tour, Roger Chapman showed up at the Senior PGA Championship in fine form.
Chapman shot a 3-under 68 on Thursday to take the first-round lead at Harbor Shores. Chapman tied for 16th this month in the Mallorca Open – and that’s about all he’s done this season.
”We have only played one event in Europe this year, so this is probably my fourth real competitive round this year,” the Englishman said. ”It’s a long way to come, a long wait. But I’m very pleased with the way things are going.”
John Cook was a stroke back, and Steve Pate, J.L. Lewis, Jeff Sluman, Jay Haas, David Frost and Jim Carter shot 70.
Chapman tied for 27th last year in the Senior PGA in Kentucky, his best showing in his first three starts in the major championship.
Harbor Shores opened two years ago for its first full season, and the Jack Nicklaus-designed layout gave players quite a challenge on a windy day along the shore of Lake Michigan. Chapman hit all 13 fairways and made five birdies and two bogeys. He birdied Nos. 7, 8 and 9 on the part of the course closest to the lake.
”My expectations were, just go in and come into the tournament and play as well as I can,” Chapman said. ”And I must say I’m very happy with what’s happened today, so just keep it going.”
Chapman’s performance came somewhat out of nowhere after his pedestrian showing in Europe.
”We had one event, our first event, which was second week in May. We lost a couple sponsors in China and Brunei, which we normally play a couple in March,” he explained. ”We never really start very early anyway, but this is probably normally about the third or fourth event of the year.”
Chapman hit all 13 fairways and 16 greens and made 5 birdies, which includes 3 in a row (7, 8 and 9). His birdie on the 144-yard, par-3 11th was quite not expected. It was indeed a solid round.