Rocco Mediate played the first 13 holes in 9 under and closed with five pars for a 62 to match the Senior PGA Championship and Harbor Shore records Thursday. He's the first round leader.
Taking advantage of greens softened by overnight rain, Mediate matched the marks set by Kenny Perry in the 2012 final round in Benton Harbor.
The 53-year-old Mediate capped a front-nine 29 with an eagle on the par-5 ninth and added birdies on the par-3 11th and 13th holes at Jack Nicklaus-designed Harbor Shores.
"It's great to play good," Mediate said. "We got three more days and who knows what's going to happen. On this golf course, anything can happen but so far so good. We'll just keep trying to drive good tomorrow and play from there because you have to drive good or you can't play this golf course at all."
Gene Sauers had a bogey-free 63. Mike Goodes shot 64, and Kenny Perry, Kirk Triplett and club pro John DalCorobbo were another stroke back. Perry played alongside Mediate and two-time defending champion Colin Montgomerie, who had two late bogeys in a 67.
"It was just a good start," Perry said. "I mean, it's a long tournament, still got a lot of holes to go and I don't tee off until 2 o'clock tomorrow. Just need to get some rest and do a little practice and hopefully get my mind right. The rhythm of my golf swing will be the same as it was today. Just keep making birdies, I think there's going to be a lot of good scores out there."
Perry's day was highlighted by a wild 9th hole where he his approach on the par 5 drilled the cart path and landed on the other side of a road. After checking with a rules official that the ball was still in play, Perry chipped over the road and eventually saved par.
Perry, Mediate and Montgomery will tee off at 2pm on hole #10 on Friday for the 2nd round.
Bernhard Langer, fresh off the 100th victory of his career - at a major, no less, at the Regions Tradition in Alabama, opened with a 69. The 58-year-old German is going for an unprecedented sweep of all five PGA Tour Champions majors. Langer finished in the top 5 at Harbor Shores in both 2012 and 2014.
"I'm not worried about being 7-back," Langer said. "I just have to continue to play good golf and go a little lower every day and sneak up that leaderboard and hopefully have a chance Sunday on the back nine."
John Daly struggled to a 75 in his second senior major start. He had a 9 on the par-4 16th and finished with a bogey on his final hole. Daly wasn't pleased and spent less than 15 seconds in scoring before heading straight to the parking lot and his car.
Daly and Langer will tee off at 8:30am on hole #1 on Friday for the 2nd round. The final two rounds on Saturday and Sunday will be broadcast on WNDU. Coverage on Saturday begins at 2:30pm with coverage on Sunday starting at 3pm.