Kite-Morgan (62) share lead at Legends of Golf
SAVANNAH, Ga. – One team started fast, the other finished strong. The results were the same: tied for the lead after the first round at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.
Tom Kite and Gil Morgan shot 10-under 62 and were tied with Ted Schulz and Gary Hallberg with a one-shot lead over several Champions Tour teams on Friday.
Kite and Morgan birdied their first five holes, Schulz and Hallberg shot 30 on the back nine at The Club at Savannah Harbor, an island layout in the Savannah River.
"Doc (Morgan) putted brilliantly today," said Kite, who lost this event in a playoff against Jay Haas in 2007, the last year this was an individual event. "I had a few balls inside his, but he made those putts and we didn't need mine."
None was bigger perhaps than Morgan's 30-footer to save par on No. 18, after he had driven into tall marsh grass and needed two shots to get out and on the green.
"I think we only made one mistake," Morgan said. "We didn't birdie the (par 5) 11th like we probably should have."
They did, however, birdie the first five holes.
"That was probably the key," Kite said. "In the past, we've been slow starters."
Putting was key for Schulz and Hallberg, too.
Hallberg rolled in an 80-foot bomb for birdie at the par-3 17th.
"We hung in there," Hallberg said. "I was a little off, early, but I found my rhythm and I putted well."
The teams of Scott Hoch and Kenny Perry, Hal Sutton and Larry Mize, David Frost and Michael Allen, plus Sandy Lyle and Peter Senior all were tied for third at 9-under.
Hoch eagled the par-4 10th from 87 yards with a sand wedge.
"Kenny's ball was only an inch from the cup, and I told my caddy I was going to try to get inside him," Hoch said. "It rolled right past his ball, never touched it, and went in."
Tom Lehman, the senior circuit's top player with two wins this year, paired with Corey Pavin to shoot 8-under and tied with eight other teams.
John Cook, also a two-time winner this year, played the final 14 holes alone after partner Joey Sindelar hurt his back and was tied with a large group at 7-under. Sindelar said he might try to rejoin Cook, probably in the final round on Sunday.
Sindelar said he felt pain in his lower back on his second shot on the first hole. Sindelar played through the fourth hole, which he birdied, then walked off for treatment while Cook played on alone.
"I told him I'd try to hold the fort down," said Cook, who has won twice this year. "I told Joey not to jeopardize the rest of the year just to play with me today."
Officials said Sindelar would be able to rejoin Cook anytime he felt better, probably Sunday's third and final round. In the meantime, obviously, Cook's ball was the team's best ball for the holes he played alone.
"You know, we're getting accustomed to seeing John Cook play like that," Kite said. "I'll tell you, obviously it's probably better John than somebody who couldn't handle it.
Cook and Sindelar lost the Legends event last year in a playoff with Nick Price and Mark O'Meara.
The team of Ben Crenshaw and Curtis Strange shot 9-under for a one-stroke lead over three teams in the Raphael Division, a 36-hole event for generally older players who eschew the 54-hole Legends Division. Raphael play concludes on Saturday.