Rd. 1 notes: Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends

April 20, 2012
Dave Senko, Champions Tour staff

Weather: A mix of sun and clouds with high temperatures near 80. Winds NE from 5-10 mph in the morning switching to the ESE at 10-15 mph in the afternoon.

Legends Leaderboard: 1) Brad Bryant/Tom Purtzer/31-29--60 (-12); T2) David Frost/Michael Allen/29-33--62 (-10), Kenny Perry/Russ Cochran/31-31--62 (-10), Jeff Sluman/Brad Faxon/33-29--62 (-10), Tom Jenkins/Bruce Fleisher/30-32--62 (-10).


Raphael Leaderboard: T1 -- Des Smyth/Mark James/33-31--64 (-8), Gary Koch/Roger Maltbie/33-31--64 (-8); T3 -- Denis Watson/Steve Jones/32-33-- 65 (-7), Mark McCumber/Wayne Grady/32-33--65 (-7).

Brad Bryant and his partner Tom Purtzer challenged the tournament-course record with a blistering back nine on Friday but fell one short in their quest to match the 13-under 59 by Andy North and Tom Watson in 2008. However, their 12-under 60 in the better-ball format gave the pair a two-stroke margin after the opening round in the Legends Division of the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf. Bryant and Purtzer birdied seven of nine holes on the back nine while posting a back-nine score of 7-under 29. Four teams opened with 10-under 62s including David Frost/Michael Allen, Kenny Perry/Russ Cochran, Jeff Sluman/Brad Faxon and Tom Jenkins/Bruce Fleisher.

• In the Raphael Division competition, defending champions Des Smyth and partner Mark James are currently tied for the lead at 8-under-par 64 with Gary Koch and Roger Maltbie.

• Of the top 5 teams in the Legends Division, three of the teams represent new pairings. Only the teams of Frost/Allen and Jenkins/Fleisher played together a year ago. Sluman, who is paired with first-timer Faxon, played with Craig Stadler the previous four years. Bryant played with Jim Gallagher Jr. in 2011, while his partner this year, Purtzer, played with Olin Browne a year ago. Perry competed with Scott Hoch in 2011 and his current teammate Cochran was paired with Mark Wiebe in 2011.

David Eger and Mark McNulty, the 2011 champions in the Legends Division, opened with a 6-under 66 and are currently T21.

• The team of Bryant/Purtzer had 12 birdies on Friday to lead all teams in that category.

• The teams of Frost/Allen and Jenkins/Fleisher each had a run of five consecutive birdies. Frost/Allen started the day with birdies on Nos. 1-5, while Jenkins/Fleisher's string went from Nos. 7-11. Frost and Allen finished T3 a year ago here.

• Hole No. 6 was the most difficult to birdie. Only two teams birdied the hole -- Fred Couples/Jay Haas as well as Mark Brooks/Bill Glasson. Of the 35 teams in the Legends Division, 29 made par and four made bogeys. The easiest hole was No. 11 with five eagles and 24 birdies.

• Former British Open champion Ian Baker-Finch is playing in his first Champions Tour event since finishing T3 a year ago in this event with Joe Ozaki. Baker-Finch is competing in this year's event with Hale Irwin, the Champions Tour's career victory leader with 45.

John Cook and Gil Morgan each had eagles on par-4 holes. Cook's came on No. 18 and Morgan's on No. 14.

• In the history of this event, nine teams have gone wire-to-wire to win. The most recent to do so was the team of North/Watson in 2008. North also went wire-to-wire with Jim Colbert in 2000 and 2001.

• Fifteen years ago on Friday, Tom Lehman finished T4 at the MCI Classic but vaulted to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings, becoming just the second American to accomplish that feat at the time (Fred Couples was the other in 1992).