An expression Corey Pavin is fond of using is, “It wouldn’t be fun if it was easy.”
The conditions Friday — winds with gusts of up to 30 miles per hour — made the first round of the Allianz Championship anything but easy. So that must have meant Pavin had a ton of fun as he shot a round of 6-under-par 66 on the Old Course at Broken Sound in Boca Raton.
That score put Pavin into a tie for the lead with Todd Hamilton in the PGA Tour Champions event for golfers 50 and over.
“Yeah, it played tough,” Pavin said of the Old Course. “You just kind of have to accept what happens out there on days like this because things are going to happen that aren’t that much fun. You accept it and go on and try to make pars wherever you can.”
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Pavin, 56, has 15 PGA Tour wins to his credit, including a U.S. Open, but only one victory on the Champions tour during his six years of competing on there. His Champions title in 2012 came in the same tournament and the same course he was playing Friday.
One thing Pavin wanted to make extremely clear is that just because the golfers on the Champions tour are all at least age 50, that doesn’t mean you will find them in rocking chairs between tournaments. In fact, Pavin recalled the jolt of reality he was hit with when he played his first Champions event.
Before that debut, he said he had heard that the Champions players didn’t really practice that much. Then, when he showed up for his first event, he saw all the players toiling away on the driving range and rolling putt after putt on the practice green.
“I played OK and finished ninth, and I was like, ‘Wow,’ ” he recalled.
The senior players might have a few more aches and pains than their younger PGA Tour counterparts, but it became quickly obvious to Pavin that they could still play the game, and play it well.
“It’s hard for me to win out here,” Pavin admitted. “All these guys playing have won a lot of tournaments. It’s not like you’re playing against guys that have never won. They’ve been there before, and they know how to handle it.
“You have to go out and win the tournament and do something good. It’s rare that you back into a win out here.”
In Friday’s round, Pavin was consistent — as in consistently good. His round included six birdies and no bogeys.
Hamilton is another example of how good you must be to win on the 50-and-over circuit.
A newcomer to the tour at 50, he has far fewer PGA Tour titles than Pavin, with just two. However, like Pavin, he has experienced one of golf’s golden moments, winning a major when he captured the 2004 British Open.
Hamilton was asked if Friday’s windy, chilly weather had any resemblance to a British Open.
“The wind conditions were similar,” he said, “but I think the ground conditions weren’t. Everything’s pretty soft.”
Hamilton’s round included seven birdies, four of them coming in a row, and one bogey. Tom Lehman and Billy Andrade were tied for third, one stroke back.
▪ Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott have committed to the Honda Classic later this month in Palm Beach Gardens. Garcia is ranked No. 13 in the world and Scott is No. 15. Previously committed have been No. 2 Rory McIlroy, No. 9 Patrick Reed, No. 11 Branden Grace, No. 16 Kevin Kisner, No. 17 Brooks Koepka and No. 19 Hideki Matsuyma. Defending champion Padraig Harrington and last year’s runner-up, Daniel Berger, are also in the field.