Richard Green leads day one of the Senior PGA Championship

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- 156 participants are back at Harbor Shores for the final time, competing for a $3.5 million purse, including $630,000 to first place.

The last time (2022) the event was hosted in Benton Harbor, the winner was Steven Alker. This year Alker is not participating, due to attending his daughter's graduation. That opens the door for 53-year-old Richard Green.

In round one, Green completed the par 71 course shooting -7, with an eagle at hole 5. Although he's in the lead, it's not safe after finishing even on holes 16-18. Not finishing with a birdie in the final three holes speaks to the level of difficulty of the course.

"It was an exceptionally good day. You know, it's a very challenging golf course, and one that can really bite you at times," Green said.

"So the start of the day it was to go out there and treat it with as much respect as possible and play good golf shots, and I was doing that, which was nice. Got off to a great start. Made the opportunities when I needed them and scored on the difficult holes really well. Yeah, just kept the round going," Green added.

As the leader board continues to shift, below Green, it still includes 2023 Senior PGA Champion, Steve Stricker.

Stricker shot four under par through the first nine but struggled on the back end, including a double bogey on the 16th hole, before shooting for part on 17 and 18.

"Put a bad swing on at 16. Hit it in the penalty area. And then really should have been a bogey at worst, but messed up the second shot there, too. All in all, a good day. Seven birdies. Putted well. Gave myself some opportunities, and it was a good start," Stricker said.

"Always got to watch out for him. He played pretty comfortable golf last year and won a bunch of tournaments. We're all thinking, how are we going to beat this guy? We've got do it better than him, and that's really hard to do," Green mentioned.

Thanks to Stricker's rough ending, Green sits in first place by two strokes but is aware of the competitiveness and the possibility of inclement weather during the next three days.

"Good a day as you're going to get really this close to Lake Michigan. You know, it's always -- can be variable with wind and temperature here. I think we've had as good a day as we're going to get this week. Hopefully it hangs in there. We'll see," Green added.

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