One golfer won seven times on the PGA Tour and was twice on a winning Ryder Cup team.
The other hasn’t been a regular on the PGA Tour in over a decade, and was making just his second Champions Tour start, after making it through as a Monday qualifier.
While the backgrounds are different Miguel Angel Jimenez and Doug Barron share the lead after the opening round of the Dick’s Open with rounds of seven-under 65.
While Barron didn’t make the field until Monday after qualifying at The Links at Hiawatha Landing, he made seven starts at En-Joie when it was the BC Open, playing at the tournament between 1997 and 2005.
“I had a thought on my round and I thought teeing off that 6, 7, 8 under’s a good round,” Barron said. “I’ve been around this course 32 times in tournament rounds and played however many practice rounds here when I was on Tour, so I like the place, it fits my eye.
“Just like it reminds me of the two courses I grew up playing at home. So, I’ve always played good here, I’ve had some good finishes here. So, you know, you can’t get too excited on day one. You’ve got to get off to a fast start on this tour, as we all know.”
For Barron it’s been a long time since he was at En-Joie, but he’s always loved it.
“I hit a little farther than I did when I played the pGA Tour, but I would say once I played the practice round, the pro-am, started to see the course again and got my sights down, no,” Barron said of if the time between rounds at the course was difficult. “I’ve played this course so many times and I really liked it. I came here every year I was on the PGA Tour. And, I love the people here and I love the crowds. We’re going to have fun tonight with Keith Urban playing. It’s a fun week. I loved it when it was a Tour event.”
Jimenez is no stranger to golf success, and he was happy with his opening round.
“Yeah, it was very nice,” he said. “I played very solid. I felt very comfortable on the golf course. That’s what you need to do, hit fairways, hit greens and hit it close, I made the putts. Happy with the way I’ve been managing myself on the golf course.”
Being tied for the lead is right where Jimenez wants to be.
“Always nice, always nice, you know,” he said. “But you never know what’s going to happen. The main thing is the way you’re feeling on the golf course, and I’ve been feeling good and hitting well and doing everything I need to do on the weekend to keep in the same mood and I still hitting good shots to win the tournament.”
Marco Dawson and Scott Parel were each a shot back at 66 and Kevin Sutherland, David McKenzie and Billy Andrade were at 67.
“Started off kind of slow, but made some putts, which was kind of interesting because the last two days in the pro-ams I’ve had more lip-outs than I’ve had in I can’t tell you how many years,” Dawson said. “I must have had at least a dozen to 15 in the last two days, and today they went in. I mean, I was glad, but it was odd. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go today. I made some putts, and a couple long two-putts, so it was good. I hit the ball fairly well. Not so great with the driver, but not in trouble. Overall it was good. I hit my irons well, managed to get around the course. My course management was good.”
Horseheds’ Joey Sindelar shot a two-under, finishing with a birdie.
“You know, it always makes the dinner taste better and the night goes more smoothly,” Sindelar said of ending on a birdie. “It was fun to be back. I’ve played so little golf in the last few months, as we talked about earlier in the week, and I was expecting some silly stuff. And I did, but there was some good things in there to.”
For Sindelar it’s always fun to see the crowd at the Dick’s Open.
“Yeah, it’s a blast,” he said. “You know, it’s every year, this is the time we get to have a blast and relive some memories. Many of them are excited for tonight’s concert and all that stuff. Half of them are more excited about the concert than the golf, which makes me smile. Hey, that’s the good news. It’s just fun to see all this activity at this golf tournament that’s turned into such a good one.”