CHAMP Kirk Triplett fires 63 to lead in Des Moines

Kirk Triplett recorded a 9-under 63 on Friday to hold a two-stroke lead after one round of the Principal Charity Classic at Des Moines, Iowa.

Triplett’s stellar bogey-free round allowed him to hold the lead over the trio of Jerry Kelly, Brett Quigley and Ken Tanigawa. Germany’s Bernhard Langer and Australia’s Stuart Appleby were tied for fifth after shooting 66s.

Triplett carded four birdies on the front nine and five on the back. He was stunned over his stellar round at Wakonda Club.

“Sixty-three is a miracle,” Triplett said of his impressive score. “I haven’t shot a low score in a long time.”

The 60-year-old Triplett has eight career wins on the PGA Tour Champions but his last victory came in September 2019, when he won the PURE Insurance Championship in a playoff over Billy Andrade.

But his play was smooth and mostly to his liking en route to the first-round lead.

“I’ve been making a lot of birdies and I’ve been putting reasonably well all year, but I’ve been throwing up these roadblocks pretty much every round making a bogey or a double,” Triplett said. “My misses have been — when I miss a shot, it’s really been a struggle for me to make a par. Sometimes it’s even doubles and triples.

“Today, the bad swings that I made I ended up making pars and I made a couple of extra-long putts as well. Made a long putt on 3, long putt on 6 and there you have it. It doesn’t seem like it’s that much different even though I know it is a big difference.”

The highlight of Kelly’s 65 was an eagle 3 on the par-5, No. 13. He also had six brides and one bogey. His final birdie came on No. 18.

Kelly said his putting was the reason for the solid round.

“I definitely struck it better than I have, at least more consistent getting it towards the hole rather than kind of veering off to the right or the left,” Kelly said.

Quigley delivered nine birdies — six on the back nine, where he began his round — but also faced disappointment with a double bogey on the par-4 fourth.

Tanigawa made two eagles, five birdies and two bogeys. The eagles were on the par-5 Nos. 8 and 15.

Langer had six birdies on the back nine and seven overall to go with one bogey. Appleby also had seven birdies and one bogey.

New Zealand’s Steven Alker, who leads the Charles Schwab Cup standings, is tied for seventh at 67. Also at 5 under are Fred Couples, Germany’s Alex Cejka and Australia’s Rod Pampling.

Defending champion Stephen Ames of Canada is tied for 40th at 1-under 71.

–Field Level Media

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