Sun, 24 Sep 2023

Justin Leonard fires course-record 62, leads in Madison

Field Level Media
10 Jun 2023, 07:55 GMT+10

Justin Leonard broke the course record with a 10-under-par 62 to establish a three-shot lead after one round of the American Family Insurance Championship on Friday in Madison, Wis.

Leonard carded five birdies on both nines at University Ridge Course while staying bogey-free. It was by far his best score at an official PGA Tour Champions event since joining the tour last summer.

"I didn't play with any kind of score in mind," Leonard said. "In fact, I got in the scoring trailer and the group that finished on 9, Tom Lehman asked me what I shot, I said I don't know. That's kind of the goal is just to get lost in the round."

Leonard, who turns 51 next week, has three top-10 finishes this year but is still seeking his first win on the 50-and-over circuit.

Leonard spent much of his 40s working for Golf Channel in an analyst role before transitioning back to playing a full tournament schedule on the PGA Tour Champions.

"Being in Florida now, any given day I'm hitting balls next to Jessica Korda, Shane Lowry or Patrick Cantlay and I'll pick their brains and fortunately they all like to talk," Leonard said. "So ask them about certain things, whether it's numbers they see in a launch monitor or whatever it may be. Being around, watching a lot of good players and now practicing with them, it's been fun."

Leonard also said he asks plenty of questions about the senior circuit when getting dinner with Steve Stricker, the Wisconsinite and host of the American Family Insurance Championship who's part of a tie for second at 7-under 65.

Joining Stricker at 65 were Marco Dawson, Steven Alker of New Zealand and Paul Broadhurst of England. Stricker has won three events this season, including each of the first two majors, the Regions Tradition and the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.

Stricker posted an eagle at the par-5 second hole to kickstart his round. Alker and Broadhurst finished their rounds without a bogey.

Broadhurst said he was inspired by his sons to have a memorable round.

"I'm third in the Broadhurst household today as well because my middle son's playing on the Challenge Tour in Europe and shot 8 under today, so that was my inspiration," he said. "Then my youngest son has just passed his A levels and got three distinction stars in fashion, so the Broadhurst household's had a good day today."

Tied for sixth at 6-under 66 were Paul Stankowski and South Korea's Charlie Wi. Defending champion Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand opened with a 2-over 74.

--Field Level Media

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