Paul Goydos, playing in his first full season on the Champions Tour, is familiar with most of the players competing against him in the Allianz Championship.
“A lot of these guys I know well because when we were on the PGA Tour they were beating up on me for 25 years,” Goydos said.
On Friday, Goydos did a little beating up of his own, as his 6-under-par 66 put him in a three-way tie with Tom Pernice Jr. and Bart Bryant for the first-round lead in the Allianz on The Old Course at Broken Sound in Boca Raton.
After less than a year, Goydos is taking a liking — a big liking — to the over-50 golf tour.
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Besides possessing a nice golf swing, Goydos also possesses a deadpan sense of humor.
Most famously, announcer Bob Costas was trying to find out if Goydos was nervous following a round in an important tournament a few years back when Goydos was playing on the PGA Tour.
Costas to Goydos: “How did you sleep last night?”
Goydos to Costas: “On my back.”
Often, Goydos’ humor is also self-deprecating.
Last year, he played half a season on the PGA Tour before joining the senior set when he turned 50.
“The way I played the PGA Tour the first half of last year, maybe I should have sold insurance instead,” Goydos mused. “But, then again, maybe I wasn’t qualified for that either.”
Goydos’ round included seven birdies and one bogey, as he put together symmetrical nines of 33-33.
“I had a good day, a day when good things happened,” Goydos said of his play Friday. “I didn’t necessarily hit the ball that well, but I scored well.”
Pernice, 55, also put together nines of 33-33 and was satisfied with his play on a windy day.
“Obviously, it was very windy,” Pernice said. “But if you controlled the ball, the greens were receptive.”
Bryant, 52, posted a 34-32 for his 66, including an eagle on No.18.
Not bad for a guy who had two fusion operations and three screws implanted in his left wrist.
And, with a smile, Bryant revealed: “One of the screws has broken into two pieces. Saw it on the X-ray.”
Bryant said the injury has limited the number of shots he takes on the range.
“The wrist will hurt and get sore if I hit too many shots,” he said. “Hitting a lot of balls in a row is not a good idea.”
On opening day, things were coming in threes at the Allianz.
Another trio of players — Bernhard Langer, Tom Byrum and Fred Funk — were one shot back at 5-under 67.
Langer, 57, has been a dominating force on the Champions Tour in recent years. Actually, he has been a dominating force in golf for many years.
His résumé includes two Masters victories, one other PGA Tour triumph, four senior major championships and 23 Champions Tour titles. And there’s also those 42 victories on the European Tour.
Langer had nines of 33-34 and completed the day by making eagle on the par-5 18th, one of 12 eagles scored on The Old Course’s easiest hole.
“That was a nice way to finish,” he said. “It certainly helped.”
Langer lives just a few minutes away from The Old Course, and his gallery is boosted by family and friends. But that also means he might have more distractions during the Allianz than other tournaments.
“I am really busy during this tournament with family and friends, but it’s fun,” he said. “It’s different from being on the road when I’m by myself.”
Langer was happy with his first-day effort in the three-day Allianz.
“They say you can’t win a tournament on the first day,” he concluded, “but you certainly can lose it.”