A fresh start at 50 for Billy Andrade

Bill Andrade is excited about returning to competition on the Champions Tour

Bill Andrade is excited about returning to competition on the Champions Tour

Billy Andrade feels like a kid again. The Brookhaven resident will make his Champions Tour debut this week at Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Fla. Andrade, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, has spent the last year trying to get ready for his “rookie” season and is ready for a new challenge.

“I took some time off and that was good, but I’m ready to get back out there and compete again,” said Andrade, who turned 50 on Jan. 25.

Andrade stepped away from the PGA Tour in 2010 and began to work for Golf Channel. A year ago, in anticipation of his 50th birthday and eligibility on the Champions Tour, Andrade switched his focus back to golf.

He played in four Web.com Tour events and three official PGA Tour events. The highlight of his season was a fifth-place finish at the Sanderson Farms Championship, which included a final-round 65.

“That gave me a lot of confidence that there’s still something there,” he said.

In anticipation of the bad weather, Andrade went to Florida a week ago to work on his game, which he said is in pretty good shape. He’s still learning the differences between the PGA Tour and the more laid-back Champions Tour: smaller fields with tee times that start at 11 a.m., two pro-ams instead of one and 54-hole events.

Andrade is one of several high-profile newcomers to the senior circuit. Davis Love III (April 13) and Scott Verplank (July 9) will be eligible to compete there later this year.

And while Andrade didn’t have a home-town tournament in which to compete while on the PGA Tour, he’ll have one on the Champions Tour. He’s already made a commitment to play in the Greater Gwinnett Championship, April 14-20, at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth.

About the Author

Hello and Welcome to The Georgia Golfer I'm Stan Awtrey, the writer and administrator for this site. I love to watch and play, although my 19 handicap index would indicate that I'm better at watching. I've played more than 200 different courses over the years, including Augusta National (twice).