CONOVER Even though Rock Barn Golf and Spa is about a two-hour drive from Mike Goodes’ home near Greensboro, it’s close enough to call it “home.”
So Goodes would like nothing better than to win this weekend’s Greater Hickory Classic, and his 4-under-par 66 Friday puts him near the top of the leaderboard in the PGA Champions Tour event.
“Everybody wants to win at home,” said Goodes, who was born in Reidsville and lives in Browns Summit. “It would mean a lot. I would love to be contending come Sunday afternoon on the back nine, and see what happens.
“Winning comes pretty hard, and I’ve been fortunate enough to win once. I’d love to have another shot at it.”
Two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer, Sweden’s Anders Forsbrand and Dick Mast all shot 6-under 64s Friday to share the first-round lead on Rock Barn’s reconfigured Rock Barn course, which suffered heavy damage to several holes due to flooding in July.
Langer, a two-time winner on the 50-and-over tour this season, and Forsbrand both made seven birdies to offset a bogey. Meanwhile, Mast – among the last players to finish up Friday – had a bogey-free round with six birdies.
“Overall, it was a pretty steady, pretty solid round,” said Langer, who trails Kenny Perry by 609 points (2,760-2,151) in the Charles Schwab Cup standings with three events remaining.
“Every little bit helps. I was leading the Schwab Cup last year, and Tom Lehman wound up winning. There are a lot of points available, so I’m trying to close the gap so that maybe I can win or have a good finish in the last tournament and maybe win the overall championship.”
John Riegger, whose first career win on the 50-and-over tour came in August at Snoqualmie, Wash., and Olin Browne both shot 5-under 65 to sit one stroke back of the leaders. Goodes and Brad Bryant, who also shot 66 Friday, are two shots behind.
David Frost, third in the Schwab Cup standings, shot a 3-under 67 Friday along with 12 others, including defending tournament champion Fred Funk. Perry shot a 2-under 68 Friday, and is among a group of six players tied for 21st.
Kiser: 704-895-3662; Twitter: @Bkiser_CLTObs.
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