Slow play? Not here. Kenny Perry needs just 3 hours to shoot a 3-under 68 at Charles Schwab Cup

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PHOENIX — Kenny Perry says he likes playing fast. He proved it on Thursday during the first round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Teeing off at 10:10 a.m. local time and playing with a marker, Perry zipped around the Phoenix Country Club in just three hours and four minutes.

“I’m a fast player. I get my number I hit the shot and I go. I look at the putt, I hit the putt,” Perry said. “So I don’t really stress over that. So speed to me is more of a relief than a hindrance.”

One thing that helped was making birdies. Perry was 4-under through eight before making what he called terrible bogey on No. 9. He bogeyed Nos. 14 and 15 before making birdies on Nos. 16 and 17. A tap-in par on the last gave him a first-round 68.

Another reason he played so fast? His marker is a really good golfer.

“Kristoffer Marshall, the gentleman that played with me, is one of my dear friends. He’s a member at Silverleaf and he just won the Arizona State Am, so he’s a terrific player in his own right,” Perry said, who got permission for his friend to play this week. “I said ‘Is there any way I could get him to play with me today because I really want to go out there by myself,’ and first they said let us talk about it. Finally they called and said, we’ll let him play with you, but he’s got to agree to be the marker all week.”

Marshall never picked up and holed out every putt.

“I would say he shot around even, even to 2 over, somewhere around in
that area.”

Not a bad way to spend the week, playing four rounds at Phoenix Country Club playing with a PGA Tour Champions golfer. Marshall was unavailable for comment Thursday but he had a good reason: his son Asher is celebrating a birthday Thursday and Kristoffer “just flew out to get to his car to drive 30 minutes away,” Perry said. “Another reason we were playing fast out there, we were running around. I didn’t want him to be really late.”

Perry said he once played a PGA Tour round in about 2 hours, 15 minutes. He doesn’t recall the tournament.

“No. I was by myself. I didn’t even read a putt. I hit it on the green, I told him to take the flag out and I just smacked it and I just went to the next hole. I wasn’t doing any good, I was last place or whatever, going to get last place money.”

Whether he gets last-place money this week or not is still to be determined. What is known is that Perry says he’s ready to step away from the game.

“This is probably my last tournament. I don’t plan to play much next year. Planning to hang the cleats up,” he said. “I may play four, five events just to come back, see the guys. But it’s been good.”

He went on to explain a late surge in his career didn’t allow for much of a break.

“I played my best golf on the PGA Tour age 48 to 50,” he said. “A lot of guys, they kind of lose their card around mid, early 40s, so they have four or five years to do whatever, relax, chill out and get ready for the Champions tour. I never did. I rolled right from the PGA Tour, got my card in ’87, never lost it, rolled right on into the Champions tour.

“I’ve been playing for 40 years, I’m tired. I’m 61, my knees are hurting, my shoulder’s hurt. It’s time, it’s time to go. I’ve got nine grandkids. I’ve got a lot of things I can do.”

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