Parel ties course record at Wakonda
By LUKE MEREDITH
AP Sports Writer
DES MOINES — Scott Parel matched the course record with a 9-under 63 on Friday to take a two-shot lead in the PGA Tour Champions’ Principal Charity Classic.
Parel tied the Wakonda Club mark set by Billy Andrade in 2016.
Chris DiMarco shot 65, Andrade was at 66, and Darren Clarke and David Toms topped the group at 67.
Money leader Scott McCarron, the winner in Des Moines three years ago, had a 70. Ken Tanigawa, the Senior PGA Championship winner last week by a shot over McCarron, opened with a 72.
Tom Lehman had a 71. He won in Iowa last year after thunderstorms washed out the final round.
The 54-year-old Parel, who played five times with just one made cut on the PGA Tour after not turning pro until he was 31, played a bogey-free round that included five birdies on the back nine.
Parel might be one of the more unheralded players on the 50-and-over tour despite finishing third in the standings in 2018. Parel, a two-time winner on the senior tour, also has a pair of second-place finishes so far in 2019.
“I’m just fortunate enough that they allow a few guys that show that they can play when they’re over 50 to be able to play,” Parel said. “I’ve got no problem with nobody knowing who I am. As long as I play good golf, that’s all I care about.”
DiMarco, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour who is perhaps best known for losing a playoff to Tiger Woods at the 2005 Masters, closed with six birdies in seven holes to cap the best round of his fledgling senior career.
DiMarco, who missed the cut at Senior PGA Championship with a ghastly plus-22 in just two rounds, drilled a 60-foot putt on the par-3 17th hole and put his approach within 5 feet on No. 18.
DiMarco had shot at least 72 or higher in 15 consecutive rounds prior to Friday’s breakthrough — which came during his first round at Wakonda.
“It’s been a struggle this year,” DiMarco said. “Any kind of confidence breeds confidence. And to go out and, for me, to shoot 65 — I knew it’s been in there. It’s just hiding deep down.”
Andrade closed with four consecutive birdies to put himself in contention. McCarron had a wild opening round, putting up seven birdies to compensate for five bogeys — including back-to-backs twice.
Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, playing in his first tournament on American soil in 11 years, shot a 4-over 76. Chamblee, who missed the cut at last year’s Senior Open Championship at St. Andrews, had 25 top-10 finishes and a win on the PGA Tour.