Round 1 Notebook: Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf

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April 22, 2011
Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour Staff

Weather: Mostly cloudy with high temperatures in the low 80s and winds from the ESE in the afternoon at 10-15 mph. Light rain fell briefly in the afternoon.

Legends Leaderboard: T1) Tom Kite/Gil Morgan (-10) & Ted Schultz/Gary Hallberg (-10); T3) Scott Hoch/Kenny Perry (-9), Hal Sutton/Larry Mize (-9), David Frost/Michael Allen (-9) & Sandy Lyle/Peter Senior (-9).

Raphael Leaderboard: T1) Ben Crenshaw/Curtis Strange (-9) & Mark James/Des Smyth (-9); T3) Gary Koch/Roger Maltbie (-8) & Mark Hayes/Pete Oakley (-8); 5th Jerry Pate/Denis Watson (-7).

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• World Golf Hall of Fame member Tom Kite and his partner Gil Morgan birdied the first five holes en route to a opening round bogey-free 10-under 62 and share the lead of the Legends Division competition at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf with Ted Schultz and Gary Hallberg.

• Kite and Morgan got off to a quick start, making birdie on their first five holes en route to a 7-under 29, the lowest nine-hole score of the day on the front nine. The 62 equaled their best round at the Club at Savannah Harbor, which they previously shot in the second round and final round in 2009.

• Kite and Morgan are playing together for the fourth consecutive year at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf with their previous-best result a T5 in 2009. Kite lost in a sudden-death playoff to Jay Haas in 2007 when the event was an individual competition and Morgan won the Legends Division with Hubert Green in 1999.

• Making their Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf debut, Ted Schultz and Gary Hallberg carded a bogey-free 62 in their first competitive trip around The Club at Savannah Harbor. Each of the last three teams to win the event have had at least one first-timer, but no team with both players competing for the first time has ever won the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, excluding the event's first year in 1978.

• The last three teams to win the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf (North-Watson/2008, Lehman-Langer/2009, O'Meara-Price/2010) all held at least a share of the first-round lead.

• Two teams also shared the first-round lead at 10-under in 2010 when the teams of John Cook and Joey Sindelar and Mark O'Meara and Nick Price both carded 62s.

• Kenny Perry, making his first start at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, and his partner Scott Hoch carded a 9-under 63 in the first round and are T3. The round featured seven birdies and an eagle with no bogeys. Hoch had the highlight of the day for the pair when he holed a sand wedge from 87 yards on the par-4 10th for eagle after Perry had hit his approach shot to within one inch of the hole.

• Playing together for the second-consecutive year, Hal Sutton and Larry Mize posted a bogey-free 63 in the opening round and are one-shot off the lead, T3. The pair birdied five consecutive holes from Nos. 9-13 and fired a 30 on the back nine. They finished T20 in 2010.

• Peter Senior, who carded a first-round 63 with partner Sandy Lyle, earlier this year became the oldest player to compete in a World Golf Championships event at the age of 51 years, seven months last month at the Cadillac Championship.

• Defending champions Mark O'Meara and Nick Price opened with a bogey-free 64 in the first round and are two strokes off the lead, T7. The pair is looking to become the fifth different team (sixth time) to defend in the Legends Division competition. The last team to successfully defend the Legends Division title was Jim Colbert and Andy North in 2000 and 2001. Jay Haas won back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007 when the event employed an individual format.

Joey Sindelar tweaked his back hitting his approach shot to the first hole and couldn't continue playing after the fourth hole, leaving his partner John Cook to play the round on his own. The team was 1-under when Sindelar was forced to stop and Cook went on to play the final 14 holes in 6-under on his own ball to post a team score of 65. The team is T16 and,if healthy, Sindelar can continue playing Saturday and Sunday.

• World Golf Hall of Fame members Curtis Strange and Ben Crenshaw posted a 63 in the first round and share the lead in the Raphael Division with Mark James and Des Smyth. They lead two-time defending champions Gary Koch and Roger Maltbie and the team of Mark Hayes and Pete Oakley by one stroke.

• Crenshaw and Strange's round featured seven birdies and an eagle from Strange at the par-5 4th. Strange and Crenshaw are playing together for the first time at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.

• James and Smyth are playing together for the second time at this event. They finished T5 in 2009 playing in the Legends Division. Des Smyth won the 2005 Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf when the event used an individual format.

• Five-consecutive birdies was the longest birdie streak in the opening round, accomplished by four teams, including first-round co-leaders Tom Kite and Gil Morgan who birdied the first five holes. David Frost and Michael Allen made five-consecutive birdies from Nos. 10-14, Larry Mize and Hal Sutton birdied Nos. 9-13 and Ian Baker Finch and Joe Ozaki birdied Nos. 8-12.

• Three eagles were made on par 4s during the opening round. The team of Wayne Levi and Keith Fergus eagled the 406-yard 5th when Fergus holed a pitching wedge from 119 yards. Kenny Perry and Scott Hoch eagled the 386-yard 10th when Hoch holed a sand wedge from 87 yards. Competing in the Raphael Division, the team of Dana Quigley and Jim Thorpe eagled the 6th when Quigley holed a gap wedge from 107 yards.

• Eight-time PGA TOUR winner Steve Jones is making his Champions Tour debut this week with partner Doug Tewell in the Raphael Division. The duo shot 68 in the first round and are T11. Jones, who won the 1996 U.S. Open at Oakland Hill CC has battled injuries the last two years and currently doesn't have status on the Champions Tour. He earned a spot in the field this week as a past major championship winner.

• Making his first start on the Champions Tour since the Dick's Sporting Goods Open last July, Ken Green partnered with Mark Calcavecchia to shoot a 68 in the first round and the team is T31 in the Legends Division. Green had his lower right leg amputated after a near fatal car accident in 2009 that claimed the lives of his brother and girlfriend. Calcavecchia is making his first start at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.

Mark McCumber is making his first start on the Champions Tour since the 2008 AT&T Championship. He and partner Wayne Grady carded a 66 in the first round and are T6 in the Raphael Division. A 10-time winner on the PGA TOUR, McCumber has made 91 starts on the Champions Tour since turning 50 in 2001.

• Liberty Mutual donates $100 to the Chaplains' Consolidated Tithes and Offering Fund at Hunter Army Airfield Fund for every birdie made on all of the par 3s during the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf. During Friday's first round there were 38 birdies made on par 3s. Should a player make a hole in one, Liberty Mutual will make a $25,000 donation.

• The hardest hole in the Legends Division was the par-4 6th, which played to a stroke average of 3.886, yielding just eight birdies. The easiest hole was the par-5 11th, which played to a stroke average of 4.057, yielding 33 birdies and no bogeys.

• The hardest hole in the Raphael Division was the par-3 3rd, which played to a stroke average of 3.063, yielding no birdies and three bogeys. The easiest hole was the par-5 11th, which played to a stroke average of 4.188, giving up 13 birdies.

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