Since he celebrated his 50th birthday 13 months ago, big things have been expected from John Daly on the PGA Tour Champions. And while he hasn’t disappointed in turning out crowds to watch him play, his results haven’t been quite as anticipated. Daly’s best finish in 22 starts is a T-11 at last year’s Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.
Which is why Sunday at the Insperity Invitational is more than your typical final round for a 50-and-older event. Daly holds a one-stroke lead over Kenny Perry after shooting a seven-under 65 at The Woodlands (Texas) Country Club on Saturday. That matched his lowest PGA Tour Champions score.
It’s been 12 years since Daly last was the sole leader of a tournament entering its final round, that time coming at the 2005 WGC-American Express Championship at Harding Park, an event he eventually lost in a playoff to Tiger Woods. Daly’s last victory was 13 years ago at the PGA Tour’s Buick Invitational in 2004
“It’s not a familiar place I’m in,” Daly said. “It’s going to be great.”
The Insperity was the event that Daly made his PGA Tour Champions debut at a year ago, when he finished T-17. Through 36 holes, Daly has just one bogey, and he closed his second round with six birdies on his final 12 holes to sit at 11-under 136.
Daly’s recent performances seemingly foreshadowed his play this week. He posted his best two finishes of 2017 in his last two starts: a T-12 at the AT&T and, playing with Michael Allen, a T-13 at the Legends of Golf two weeks ago.
Standing in the way is Perry, a eight-time senior winner, who also shot a Saturday 65. Jerry Smith is two shots back, with Tommy Armour III and Miguel Angel Jimenez, three and four strokes behind, respectively.