BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Joe Durant knows his future is on the Champions Tour. That doesn't stop him from wanting to play on the PGA Tour.
"I guess there's that part of your ego that still thinks you can play on the regular tour and you still want to prove you can do that," Durant said after birdieing his final hole Thursday for a 6-under 65 and a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Senior PGA Championship.
Making his third Champions Tour start after turning 50 on April 7, the four-time PGA Tour winner had seven birdies and a bogey at Harbor Shores.
Dan Forsman, fighting an arthritic left hip, opened with a 66, and Brad Faxon had a 67. Mark Brooks and P.H. Horgan III shot 68, and two-time Senior PGA winner Jay Haas and Colin Montgomerie were in the group at 69.
Kenny Perry, the winner last week in the Regions Tradition in Alabama, topped the group at 70 with Bernhard Langer, Tom Lehman, John Cook and Tom Watson.
Durant, coming off a ninth-place tie Sunday at Shoal Creek in the first major of the year, missed only one fairway and birdied all the par 5s. He also birdied the par-4 seventh hole that plays up a sand dune and usually into the wind off Lake Michigan.
"I just had a nice rhythm," said Durant who has played on the PGA Tour, Web.com Tour and the Champions Tour this season and plans to play the PGA Tour and Champions the rest of the year. "I didn't try to do anything fancy. I just went from point A to point B and hit a lot of good shots. It worked out to be a nice round."
Durant has struggled with his PGA Tour status position to get into events.
"I know my future is more out here than out there, but I would just like to play out there a little bit," he said. "It doesn't get any easier out there, that's for sure."