Chris DiMarco takes first-round Senior PGA lead at Harbor Shores

by | May 26, 2022 | PGA

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — There must be something in southwest Michigan that agrees with Chris DiMarco’s golf game. Whatever it is, the 53-year-old DiMarco hopes it continues for the next three days in the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores.

As a 19-year-old golfer for the Florida Gators, DiMarco won the prestigious 1988 Western Amateur 10 miles east of Lake Michigan at Point O’Woods Golf & Country Club in Millburg.

Thursday, DiMarco was one of five golfers who managed rounds of four-under 67 around the par-71, 6,734-yard Jack Nicklaus design which is hosting its fifth Senior PGA since it opened in 2010.

“It’s hard to remember back that far … obviously I have some great memories from there (The Point),” DiMarco said after making some more in his first official round at Harbor Shores in cloudy but ideal scoring conditions in the morning.

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His round featured six birdies, including five in a six-hole stretch beginning at the 417-yard sixth hole. 

Not bad for only his second trip around Harbor Shores. “I like good undulating greens that have a lot of imagination to them,” added DiMarco, who played a practice round Wednesday. 

A bogey on the par-4, 420-yard closing hole prevented DiMarco from leading the morning wave and left him tied with fellow American Gene Sauers, Australia’s Mark Hensby, Sweden’s Joakim Haeggman and France’s Thomas Levet.  

May 26, 2022; Benton Harbor, Michigan, USA; Chris Dimarco putts on the eighteenth green during the first round of the 2022 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Another three golfers — PGA Tour Champions leading money winner Steven Alker of New Zealand, Stephen Ames of Canada, and American Duffy Waldorf — had reached four-under in the afternoon as light rain began to fall on the course that got more than an inch overnight.

Defending Senior PGA champion Alex Cejka of Germany, who won last year’s title at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa where he missed the cut in last week’s PGA Championship, headed a group of six golfers who shot three-under 68s. That international group included Korea’s KJ Choi, Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke, Wales’ Darren Dodd and Americans Kevin Sutherland and Michael Allen, who won the 2009 Senior PGA at Canterbury.  

The 51-year-old Cejka, who had four birdies, three of them in a four-hole stretch beginning at No. 8, has only played three times in preparation for his defense. But he’s already got an idea what needs to be done.

“You’ve got to drive it well,” Cejka said. “That’s what I did today. My goal is just to find a lot of fairways. If I do, I can attack the pins. It all depends on the weather the next couple days. If we have weather like this — the last couple of (times) it was here — it was low scoring.”

Champions Rocco Mediate (2016) and Paul Broadhurst (2018) won with 19-under 265 totals at Harbor Shores.

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