Brad Lardon, the director of golf operations at Club de Las Campanas, shot 7-under par 65 at Twin Warriors Golf Club in the first round of the Sun Country Senior PGA Professional Championship. (Photo courtesy of Sun Country Golf House)

The winner and runner-up of the Sun Country Senior Professional Championship at Twin Warriors Golf Club will be eligible to return to Santa Ana Pueblo in October, when the national event is played at Twin Warriors and Santa Ana Golf Clubs.

Brad Lardon, the director of golf operations at Club de Las Campanas in Santa Fe, is poised to secure one of those two spots.

On Monday, he shot 7-under par 65 in the first round at Twin Warriors to take a five-stroke lead over Steve Manning of Los Altos Golf Course.

Lardon, who spent six years on the PGA Tour at various points in his life, will play for his fifth Sun Country PGA Senior Professional Championship at Twin Warriors on Tuesday.

In the first round, he collected eight birdies with a bogey on the par-4 No. 14.

Lardon is no stranger to big events. He will be looking to qualify for his eighth major senior event.

Lardon has played in five major tournaments, including three PGA Championships and two US Opens.

At the 2002 US Open at Bethpage Black, he made the cut and finished 58th. In 2019, he told the Journal the performance was special to him because he grew up in New York and performed at Bethpage as a teenager before moving to Texas.

He is in his sixth year at Las Campanas.

Scott Gates, the defending Canyon Club champion, is tied for third after shooting even to tie Kevin Amhaus, the GolfTEC manager in Albuquerque.

Don Yrene of Canyon Club, Bill Harvey of Ladera and Carlton Blewett of Roswell Country Club each shot 1 time.

Lardon, Manning and Gates are scheduled to start No. 1 at 8:50 a.m.

Twin Warriors and Santa Ana Golf Clubs will host the PGA Senior Professional Championship October 13-16.

The event features a field of 264 players from 50+ PGA professionals from across the country, with the top 35 scorers earning a spot in the 2023 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship to be played at PGA Frisco in Frisco, Texas from May 23-28. .

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