Des Moines, Iowa – Thongchai Jaidee made sure to have just one captain following Friday’s opening round of the 2021 Main Charity Classic.
Jade Bird finished ninth, his last hole of the day, to wrap up the first round 65 at the Wakunda Club, good for a 7-under. He has a one-shot lead over Dickie Pride and Doug Barron, who shot 6-under-66s. Six more at the age of five and another six at the age of four.
For Jaidee, a 51-year-old from Thailand, his 65-year-old is the lowest of his career. He combed an eagle on the 5-15 bar, then bounced off the wagons in a row with three straight birds on the numbers 5-8. He finished with another birdie in ninth to take the lead straight into Saturday’s 54-hole event.
Pride — who’s paired with Scott Burrell, runner-up at the 2019 Principal Charity Classic — scored seven birds a day, including three of four holes between numbers 5-8. Had it not been for a bogey in Par-3 No. 14, who came across the birds in both 13 and 15, the 51-year-old would have been linked with Jaidee.
Barron put together an almost identical first round to Pride. The 51-year-old rocked four consecutive birdies on the numbers 5-8 to go to 4 under the front nine and also cornered a bogey among the birds on the numbers 13 and 15.
But if history reveals anything, it’s that this remains anyone’s tournament with 36 holes yet to be played.
Back in 2019, Kevin Sutherland erased from behind by eight shots with a record 62 on Sunday, then beat Burrell in a two-hole playoff.
Heading into the weekend, 12 more golfers are on at least three Jaidee shots, including several stars who are competing here this weekend.
1992 Masters Champion Fred Coples is 5-under after a grueling opening round. Joe LaCava, a longtime rambler for the likes of world number one Ken Green, Dustin Johnson, and since 2011 a Tiger Woods family member has been back inside the ropes with a golf bag. LaCava Reunion with Couples in Wakounda. The two teamed up for 12 PGA Tour titles, including the 1992 Masters Championship.
Other players restricted at age five include Jerry Kelly, who finished third here in 2019, and Rod Bumbling, who chased four of his first nine holes.
At the age of four, Bernard Langer and Jim Forek, among others. Langer thrust out of three chariots into his first five holes to do an eagle on the Par-5 15 to get back to par. He followed with a birdie on number 18, then three after the turn. Furyk shot the ghost, and made three sparrows in his second nine to slip up the leaderboard.
Behind them, more stars.
Mike Weir faltered with two stealths on his back nine to finish 2-under, while Alex Sigka, winner of two major tournaments so far this year, finished with two birds to stay on par with Weir. Ernie Els sailed a hot and cold ride, scoring eight birdies, five bogeys and a double, to finish first under.
Jay Haas, a three-time winner here, sat at the 1 o’clock until a birdie awarded him in 15 equal rounds. Vijay Singh went from 2 under to 3 in a seven-hole span (he finished 2). Hall of Fame player John Smoltz fired, but was later disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard (Rule 3.3b).
Golfweek’s Steve Demeglio contributed to this article.