Boca Raton (CBS12) — The Oasis Championship teed off on Friday in Boca Raton, with many of the world’s best 50 and over golfers battling it out. It was an eventful day for Palm Beach County golfers, with Jupiter resident Jesper Parnevik pulling off 9 birdies for a 9-under score and the lead after round one. Boca Raton’s Bernhard Langer just missed an eagle on the final hole to finish at 8-under, just one stroke back of the lead. But it was Jupiter’s Gary Nicklaus who may have been the story of the day, as his father “The Golden Bear” watched on.
Jack Nicklaus’ son Gary teed off as a professional golfer for the first time since 2003, and shot a 5-under 67 in his first ever round on the PGA Tour Champions.
“I felt like I was really prepared to get to the first tee, but when I got there today I was not,” explains Nicklaus. “I was out of my element, and kind of shaking like a leaf”
But the calming presence of his father may have helped him through those nerves, as did a birdie on the 3rd hole that led to 4 straight birdies on the front nine.
Jack Nicklaus was quietly following along with his wife Barbara, trying their hardest to blend in with the rest of the gallery.
“I am very proud of him,” said the proud father after the round. “(Scoring a) 67 the first time he’s really played any competition, or professional competition, for 15 years at least. That’s pretty nice”
While the 18 time major champion admits that it’s nice to see the name ‘Nicklaus’ high up on a professional leaderboard after all these years, he purposely watched the round from a distance, wanting the day to be more about his son. Gary admits, however, his dad was very much out there on that course with him, in his own special way.
“He’s constantly in there,” said Gary with a smile when asked if he hears his Dad’s voice in his head giving him advice as he plays. “He’s been giving me advice since I was (little), you never forget those things”
“I see some things that I saw today that I’ll mention to him,” says Jack. “He’ll probably discard them but that’s OK His game plan should be the same thing as it was today, good solid shots, give yourself an opportunity, and some of the shots (will fall for you), and that’s what happened.”