BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Scott McCarron didn’t wait until the summer to heat up.
McCarron has already collected nearly $1 million in winnings, two victories and six top-five finishes entering the Regions Tradition. The Tradition, which starts Thursday at Greystone Golf & Country Club, is the first of the PGA Tour Champions’ five majors and is followed in two weeks by the Senior PGA Championship.
“Everybody’s kind of judged a little bit on majors,” said McCarron, who leads the Charles Schwab Cup rankings with earnings of more than $996,000. “Even though this isn’t the PGA Tour, it’s still special to win a major out here.”
Typically, McCarron has gotten stronger once the calendar hits June — he has seven of his 10 wins on the senior circuit from June on. McCarron is well ahead of that schedule and has won two of the last three events. He’s coming off a two-stroke win over Scott Parel at the Insperity Invitational .
The first two rounds at Greystone are scheduled for two-tee starts and mid-afternoon finishes because of the threat of bad weather.
McCarron hasn’t been worse than sixth in his three Regions Traditions and was tied for fifth last year. His only win in a major championship came in the 2017 Senior Players Championship, but he has eight Top 5 finishes.
The 53-year-old McCarron has raced to 10 senior wins after winning three times on the PGA Tour.
“Ten victories out here on the PGA Tour Champions, it’s pretty crazy,” he said. “I have to pinch myself I’ve done that this quickly, but I’m not done yet. I want to win a lot more.
“I’ve learned so much playing with Bernhard Langer over the years and it’s been great becoming friends with him, watch how he kind of takes apart a golf course, how much he’s dedicated to practicing. And he’s definitely pushing me.”
Langer is a regular contender at majors in general and certainly at the Regions Tradition. He has a record 10 major championship victories and won in Alabama in 2016 and 2017. He finished 11th last year in his bid for a third straight Tradition win .
That’s when Miguel Angel Jimenez won his first senior major after holding or sharing the lead following every round. The Spaniard’s 19-under 269 matched his lowest 72-hole score.
He went on to become the first to post top-10 finishes in all five senior majors since Langer did it in 2015.
McCarron is the hottest player coming into this week, though.
“I’ve been playing some good golf obviously the last few weeks,” he said. “Out here you just try to get in the mix with nine holes to go and see if you can control your emotions and hit some good shots down the stretch. It’s been a lot of fun.”
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