Round 1 Notes: Nature Valley First Tee Open

July 08, 2011
Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff

Weather: Players off both the first and 10th tees on both courses. Cloudy throughout the day with temperatures in the mid- to upper-60s and light winds from the W at 5-10 mph.

• Round 1 Leaderboard: 1?Russ Cochran (-7)/PB; 2?David Eger (-6)/DM; T3?Brad Bryant (-5)/DM, Morris Hatalsky (-5)/DM, Jim Thorpe (-5/PB)


• In his first appearance on the Champions Tour since the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf in late April, Russ Cochran fired a bogey-free 7-under-par 65 at Pebble Beach and holds a one-stroke lead over David Eger (DM) after the first round of the Nature Valley First Tee Open At Pebble Beach. Following back-to-back T3s at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am and Legends event, Cochran was forced to the sidelines for just over two months with an injured right wrist. For Eger, his 66 at Del Monte today was his best round ever in this event. Eger was the first-round leader at this event in 2004.

Russ Cochran's 7-under 65 included a run of six straight birdies on his second nine (Nos. 3-8), eclipsing the old tournament record of five consecutive birdies by five different players. Cochran's six straight birdies today also equaled the 2011 best streak on the Champions Tour -- Tom Lehman (Senior PGA Champioship), Mike Goodes (Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn).

• In his last previous appearance at Pebble Beach, Cochran carded a 65 in the final round that included a 7-under 29 on the front nine. That score led to Cochran winning the pro-junior portion of this event with Spencer Jones from the First Tee of Cleveland County (N.C.) and a T6 finish in the overall event. Cochran's six consecutive birdies on the same side today gave him a nine-hole score of 30 and he's now been a cumulative 13-under on Pebble Beach's first nine over the last two years.

• Thus far in 2011 through 13 events, there have been five first-round leaders/co-leaders go on to win on the Champions Tour. In the seven previous years of this event, only two first-round leaders have gone on to win -- Hale Irwin (2005), Jeff Sluman (2009).

Russ Cochran has been a first-round leader/co-leader eight previous times on the Champions Tour including three times this year (Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, ACE Group Classic, Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am). In his career on the Champions Tour, he's only gone on to win once as a first-round leader and that was last year at the SAS Championship where he went wire-to-wire.

• Australia's Peter Senior carded a 1-under-par 71 today at Del Monte, his 16th straight sub-par score this year dating back to Round 2 of the Senior PGA Championship. Senior has now played 33 rounds at stroke-play this year and has only carded three scores over par this season. Earlier this season, both John Cook and Olin Browne had 15 straight sub-par scores.

• In the pro-junior competition, Jim Thorpe and his junior partner, Martavious Adams from The First Tee of East Lake (Ga.), carded a team score of 9-under 63 and lead Brad Bryant and his junior partner, Brandon Baumgarten from The First Tee of Greater Sacramento by one stroke. The field will be cut to the low 22 pro-junior teams tomorrow.

• There were 13 scores below 70 at Del Monte and the stroke average for Round 1 there was 70.872. Last year on Friday, there were 17 rounds in the 60s at Del Monte and the stroke average was 70.179. Today at Pebble Beach there were just five scores in the 60s and the stroke average was 72.513. Last year in Round 1 at Pebble Beach there were six sub-70 scores and the stroke average was 72.359. Only two birdies were made at the 7th hole at Del Monte (Jay Don Blake, Tom Jenkins) and the par-4 hole played as the most difficult at 4.385. Pebble Beach's par-5 14 hole was the most difficult today with a stroke average of 5.282. Steve Pate, Fred Funk, Phil Blackmar.

• Defending champion Ted Schulz birdied three of his last four holes at Pebble Beach to shoot 1-over 71 today.

Russ Cochran (PB) and Tom Pernice, Jr. (DM) had the only bogey-free rounds today...Barry Jaeckel, playing in his first Champions Tour event since last year's Nature Valley First Tee Open, shot even-par 72 today...Fred Funk and Mark Mouland hit all 14 fairways today while Jeff Sluman hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation...Russ Cochran and Chien Soon Lu only needed 24 putts today.