DEARBORN, Mich., July 11 (UPI) -- Hale Irwin recorded six birdies in the first seven holes Thursday en route to an 8-under 64 that put him two strokes in front after one round of the Senior Players Championship.
Irwin established a tournament record with a 29 on the front nine of the Tournament Players Club of Michigan course. His 64 was also the lowest first-round score ever shot in this tournament, the final major of the year on the Senior Tour.
He has finished no worse than fourth in five of the last six years at the event and captured the title in 1999.
Alone in second place with a 66 was Stewart Ginn while Mark McCumber and Tom Jenkins shared third place at 67.
McCumber was the first alternate to get into the field and was given a spot when Jack Nicklaus withdrew because of muscle spasms in his back.
McCumber found out Wednesday afternoon he would be playing, but not until Nicklaus had some fun with him.
"I passed Jack on the range," McCumber said, "and I asked him how he felt. He said he didn't feel very good, but he said he thought he would play two holes in the tournament and then withdraw.
"He had me going for a while."
Irwin leads the all-time Senior Tour money list and is No. 1 again this year with three victories. But he has not won since March.
"The last month or so, my game has been almost there, not quite there," Irwin said. "It's been sort of a frustrating time. I've been pushing a lot of buttons trying to get it over the hump and just not doing so."