Bryant, Purtzer lead Legends of Golf
Savannah, Georgia (Sports Network) - Brad Bryant and Tom Purtzer used a strong back nine Friday to fire a 12-under 60 and take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Legends of Golf.
The tournament, which is the second-oldest Champions event behind the Senior PGA Championship, uses a two-man better-ball format, and Bryant and Purtzer made the most of it Friday.
They birdied seven holes on the back nine and eight of their final 10 overall at Savannah Harbor Resort and Spa.
That run was enough for Bryant and Purtzer to claim the lead ahead of four groups sharing second at 10-under. Michael Allen and David Frost; Russ Cochran and Kenny Perry; Brad Faxon and Jeff Sluman; and Bruce Fleisher and Tom Jenkins all shot 62.
Defending champions David Eger and Mark McNulty are six shots off the pace, tied for 21st after carding six-under 66.
Among other notable teams, Tom Lehman and Bernhard Langer -- the last two Schwab Cup Champions and the 2009 winners of this event -- recorded an eight- under 64. They share ninth place with four other duos.
But Friday belonged to Bryant and Purtzer, long-time friends who were in one of the final groups to tee off. They started off well, getting birdies at four of the first five holes before three consecutive pars.
Purtzer said that the biggest hole of the day was the seventh, where he "fanned one in the right woods and Brad didn't see." Bryant interjected that he did, in fact, see the ball head into the trees, but his own shot kicked into a hazard.
"So both of us are in the hazard there," Purtzer said, "and he decided to drop out and he played a great second shot and then a beautiful third shot and he made about, I don't know what, 10-footer?"
Bryant confirmed the length of the par putt.
"If you make a bogey out here, it zaps your momentum," Purtzer said. "But when you made that putt, that was like making an eagle on that hole, so that was a big turnaround for us."
Rather than dropping a shot, the duo continued to rise up the leaderboard. A birdie at the ninth touched off a run of four in a row, which put them at eight-under.
Following a par, birdies at 14 and 15 got Bryant and Purtzer into a tie for first, and they didn't stop there. Birdies at 16 and 17 moved them two strokes clear of the field before they closed with par. The score matched the course record.
Prior to Bryant and Purtzer finishing, three teams had already entered the clubhouse at 10-under.
Allen and Frost, who tied for third last year, did most of their damage on the front nine. They recorded birdies at seven of the first eight holes.
Cochran and Perry used birdies at 14, 16 and 17 to break free from a crowded field and join Allen and Frost at minus-10.
Perry returns to this event after an excruciating loss last year, when he paired with Scott Hoch. On the second playoff hole, Perry missed a 14-inch par putt that would have extended the tournament. Instead, Eger and McNulty walked away with the title.
Faxon and Sluman used an eagle at the 11th to jump-start their round. The eagle put them at minus-six, and they birdied four of the following five holes.
Fleisher and Jenkins were in the second-to-last group, and sat at 10-under after a birdie at the 15th. But they couldn't make another birdie in their final three holes and remained tied for second.
Three teams share sixth place after firing nine-under 63s -- Fred Couples and Jay Haas; John Cook and Joey Sindelar; and Andy Bean and Chien Soon Lu.
NOTES: Every team shot below par. Jay Sigel and Doug Tewell sit in last place at one-under...The tournament started in 1978 and was a big factor in the creation of the Champions Tour, which came into being two years later.
04/20 17:21:07 ET