By Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff
Weather: Mostly cloudy with highs in the mid-80s with winds in the morning from the SW at 5-15 mph. A thunderstorm moved into the area and play was suspended from 12:22-3:50 p.m. After the round resumed, temperatures dropped into the mid-70s and winds blew briefly at 15-25 mph. Play was eventually suspended for the day at 8:21 p.m. due to darkness with 23 players left to finish their opening round.
First-Round Leaderboard: Bernhard Langer 34-33—67 (-5), Craig Stadler 32-35—67 (-5), Duffy Waldorf 34-33—67 (-5); Mark Calcavecchia (-4 thru 14), David Frost 36-32—68 (-4), Gary Hallberg 36-32—68 (-4), Jeff Hart 35-33—68 (-4), Scott Hoch 34-34—68 (-4), Sandy Lyle 35-33—68 (-4), Blaine McCallister 35-33—68 (-4), Peter Senior (-4 thru 16), Jeff Sluman 35-33—68 (-4)
Bernhard Langer, Duffy Waldorf and Craig Stadler all matched 5-under-par 67s to share the first-round lead as darkness suspended play on Friday. Both Waldorf and Langer played in the morning wave and each scattered six birdies and a bogey. Stadler was bogey free in his afternoon round, making five birdies in his first 10 holes and then finishing with seven consecutive pars, the last coming just before the horns sounded. Mark Calcavecchia was 6-under for his first 11 holes and was in sole possession of the lead before making bogey on Nos. 13-14 as darkness fell at North Shore Country Club.
Thus far in 2013, only three of the previous 11 tournaments have been won by first-round leaders. The last time it happened was at the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf in late April when Jeff Sluman/Brad Faxon led by one stroke after play on Friday and went on to victory.
In his first Champions Tour start since withdrawing from the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open last August, World Golf Hall of Fame member Nick Price carded a 1-under 71. Price has struggled recently with elbow issues and made just eight starts in 2012.
Three players had their best opening rounds in stroke-play events on the Champions Tour in quite some time. Craig Stadler’s 5-under 67 this afternoon was his best starting round since he shot 67 on Friday at the 2008 AT&T Championship near the end of the season. Sandy Lyle’s 4-under 68 this morning was his best starting score since a 67 in Round 1 of the 2009 Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship. Blaine McCallister’s 4-under 68 today was his best starting round since posting a 5-under 67 on Friday almost three years ago at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.
John Riegger, a winner at the Web.com Tour’s 2007 LaSalle Bank Open held nearby at The Glen Club, and Jeff Brehaut, both made their debuts on the Champions Tour today. Riegger carded a 2-under 70 while Brehaut posted a 1-under 71. Both players became eligible for the circuit on June 13 when they turned 50. Brehaut earned the No. 2 spot at last fall’s National Qualifying Tournament while Riegger secured the fifth spot.
Amateur Russell Pietila and his professional Steve Lowery share the lead with amateur Lee Tenzer and his professional Steve Pate. Both teams carded better-ball scores of 13-under 59. Among a large group posting 10-under 62s were Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould teamed with D.A. Weibring and Pat Foley, the voice of the Chicago Blackhawks, who played with Don Pooley.
Today’s suspension was the fifth on the Champions Tour this year and the third in the last four events for a competitive round.
Because of the lengthy rain delay on Friday, tickets for the first round will also be honored for admission to the course on either Saturday or Sunday. The first round will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning and groupings for the second round will add 30 minutes to their original Round 2 tee time.