Flesch & Smith Lead the 2017 Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship, Day 1September 16, 2017
The 2017 Pacific Links Championship gets off to a legendary start
The PGA TOUR Champions uses the hashtag ‘Where Legends Play’. Never has that been truer than today, the start of the 2017 Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship. To start with, the lineup include a knight of the realm (Sir Nick Faldo) and a Swedish reality star (Jesper Parnevik). The weather was perfect. And then, of course, there was the golf: round 1 ending with a leaderboard top-heavy with legends and some incredible scores. As Jerry Kelly, who shot a 6-under 65 to finish the day at T3, put it: “These guys are shooting really low scores.”
The guys in question being Steve Flesch and Jerry Smith who, at the end of Day 1, sit atop the leaderboard, with a 7-under 64. Four-time PGA TOUR winner Flesch, who is hunting his first PGA TOUR Champions victory this week, got off to a great start with four birdies in a five-hole stretch and capping his bogey-free round with a birdie on the par-5 18th. Smith, who has one PGA TOUR Champions title to his name, also closed with a birdie and had six birdies in a seven-hole span before bogeying the par-3 14th.
Hot on their heels, just one shot behind, are a foursome who are no strangers to low scores and legendary golf: fan-favourite John Daly, Charles Schwab Cup leader Bernhard Langer, Jerry Kelly and David Toms (pictured above) all shot a 6-under 65. Just one shot behind them, with a 5-under 66 round, are another fierce foursome, including Canadian Stephen Ames, Esteban Toledo, Doug Garwood and David McKenzie.
Like we said, a legendary day of play.
Heading into Day 1 of the 2017 Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship, there was a lot of chatter about a rematch between defending champion Colin Montgomerie (Monty) and 2016 runner up Scott McCarron. After missing nearly three months due to torn ligaments in his left ankle earlier this season, Monty entered the week as one of the hottest players on the Tour. Fresh off last week’s JAPAN AIRLINES Championship win, he has tallied 15 consecutive rounds under-par, and in this span has five top-20 finishes and three top-10s. McCarron, meanwhile, is also on a hot streak with four victories this season, including his first major win at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship. Coming off a T2 finish behind Monty at the JAPAN AIRLINES Championship last week, everyone had an eye to this being the Monty/McCarron match. But by the end of Round 1, it was a clutch of other legends who stole the show, with Monty and McCarron were sitting at T29 and T37, shooting a 1-under 70 and par 71 respectively.
Speaking of stealing the show, the biggest roar of the day went to Corey Pavin when he holed out for eagle on #18. Another scene-stealing moment was when Tim Petrovich lipped out for a hole in one on #16 – there’s always tomorrow!
Yes, it was a beautiful day for a round of golf at Bear Mountain Resort – Mountain Course. But the beautiful weather had nothing on the golf itself. Because here, today, truly was #WhereLegendsPlay.
What will Day 2 of the #2017PLC bring? The first players tee off at 7:45 am on Saturday September 16th, with the last round, including current leaders Steve Flesch and Jerry Smith, teeing off at 12:20 pm. Tickets will remain on sale at the Spectators Plaza or follow along virtually as we continue to post live from the event all weekend long:
#2017PLC Quote of the day:
Jerry Kelly, talking about Bear Mountain – Mountain Course: “What can I say? Coming up to #14 – it takes my breath away every time I see it.”
#2017PLC by the Numbers:
2016 – Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship 2016 winner Colin Montgomerie, defending champion
78 – Size of this year’s field
$1,800,000 USD – Total purse for the event
$270,000 USD – Winner’s share
61 – Bear Mountain Mountain Course Record, set by Miguel Angel Jimenez at the 2017 Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship
197 – Tournament Record set by Paul Goydos in 2014
4 – World Golf Hall of Fame inductees competing this week (Sir Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Tom Kite)
15 – Players with a PGA TOUR Champions major victory
12 – Players with a PGA TOUR major victory
48 – PGA TOUR Champions winners with 207 total career victories
54 – PGA TOUR winners with 261 total career victories
3 – Number of Canadians in the field (Stephen Ames, Jim Rutledge, Rod Spittle)
35,000+ – Projected number of spectators on-site throughout the 2017 event
27,000 – Number of spectators who came out to watch the Champions in action at the 2016 Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship
700 – Number of volunteers at the 2017 event
600 – Number of volunteers who helped make the 2016 event a success.
$15-17 million – Expected local economic impact