Record-high temperatures on Thursday gave way to cooler weather on Friday at Phoenix Country Club, where Michael Allen hit the first tee shot to open the 2020 Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
It was 99 on Thursday, the hottest day Phoenix has ever had in November. When the 81-man field hit the course for the first round on Friday, the group was greeted by overcast skies, no wind and a great golf course.
Paul Goydos and Brandt Jobe took advantage of the conditions, each firing bogey-free 7-under 64s. Both of them birdied the 527-yard par-5 18th and will take a one-shot lead over Mark Brooks, K.J. Choi and Kevin Sutherland into Saturday.
“I kind of got off to I wouldn’t say a slow start but maybe not the most confident start,” said Goydos. “I hit a sprinkler head or something on 3 and it caught a good break and it kicked somewhere I could get up and down, and hit a poor shot. Then I chipped in on 4 for birdie, which kind of got the thing started.”
CHARLES SCHWAB CUP: Leaderboard
Goydos has now led or been the co-leader in tournaments on the PGA Tour Champions six times. Four of those came in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. He won the event in 2016, the final time it was played at Desert Mountain Golf Club in Scottsdale. In 12 rounds at Phoenix Country Club, Goydos has nine rounds in the 60s and a 67.17 average.
Jobe has four top 10s this year. He is seeking his third PGA Tour Champions victory.
On Thursday, he was one of three golfers who wore microphones during the round, joining Billy Andrade and Tim Herron. Along the way, the group talked about dinner and the Dodgers winning the World Series but things got interesting on the 7th hole.
“Billy hits a 3-wood, pretty good shot, kind of right where he’s aiming and we couldn’t find it,” Jobe said. “So finally someone goes, ‘There’s a ball up in the tree.’ So a guy in the gallery takes his shoe off and we start throwing the shoe at the ball. Billy’s throw wasn’t real good though, but (PGA Tour Champions VP of Rules, Competition and Administration) Brian Claar hit it on like the second or third try.”
Andrade had to take an unplayable lie but he saved himself about 250 yards. He ended up taking bogey on the hole. He’s T-50 after his first-round 71.
About those greens
The putting surfaces at Phoenix Country Club have dominated the discussion so far this week. Players, caddies and tournament officials are all raving about the greens.
“The greens are embarrassingly good,” Goydos said. “If you miss a putt, you either misread or mis-hit it, there’s no way it’s not going to roll on the line that you hit it on. It might be the best Bermuda greens I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Phoenix Country Club golf course superintendent Charlie Costello has a lot of fans this week.
“Boy, the greens are so good,” Jobe said with a big smile on his face. “I’ve got to take my hat off to them, these greens are really good. They’re fast, they roll incredible. And when you have greens that good, if you get some opportunities, you’re going to make some putts.”