CALGARY, Alberta — Kevin Sutherland shot an 8-under 62 on Friday to take one-stroke lead over California childhood rival Scott McCarron in the PGA Tour Champions’ Shaw Charity Classic.
“It was a perfect day to play,” Sutherland said. “The greens are great. Some greens are a little firmer than others, but there’s not much wind. It’s a little bit swirly, but it’s easy to figure out. The greens are perfect, so if you drive the ball in the fairway, which I did a pretty good job of today, you’re going to have a lot of good potential opportunities for birdie and I had a lot of them today.”
Sutherland played his final nine — the front nine at Canyon Meadows — in 6-under 29. He closed with a par on the par-3 ninth to finish a stroke off the course record of 61 set by Fred Couples in his 2014 victory and matched by Miguel Angel Jimenez the following year.
“I think I hit every green and I had a lot of really good chances early,” Sutherland said. “I made a really long putt on 14 and then all of a sudden on the back side they all started going in.”
Winless on the 50-and-over tour, Sutherland finished second behind McCarron two weeks ago in New York in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open, the event where Sutherland shot a tour-record 59 three years ago.
“I’ve been playing well all year, but I’ve been playing very well for the last three tournaments,” Sutherland said. “I feel like my game’s in a really good place right now. I’m hitting a lot of good quality iron shots, which is giving me a lot of good opportunities.”
McCarron closed with an eagle. He has three victories this year and five in the last two seasons on the PGA Tour Champions. The three-time PGA Tour winner won the Allianz Championship in February and the major Senior Players Championship in July.
“It was a good solid day,” McCarron said. “I had a great group playing with Jay Haas and Billy Andrade. I really enjoy playing with those guys.”
Sutherland’s lone PGA Tour victory came in 2002 at La Costa in the Accenture Match Play Championship, when he beat fellow Sacramento player McCarron 1 up in the 36-hole final.
Jimenez, Todd Hamilton, Billy Andrade and Scott Dunlap shot 64.
Vijay Singh topped the group at 65, and Couples was at 67 along with Nick Faldo.
Defending champion Carlos Franco had a 69.