Kite, Cook share lead at Nature Valley First Tee OpenTom Kite leads at the Nature Valley First Tee Open, 20 years after his U.S. Open triumph at Pebble BeachJuly 06, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- John Cook closed with a 30-foot eagle putt to complete a 5-under 67 on Friday and a share of the lead with 62-year-old Tom Kite at the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach.
Both Cook and Kite played their opening rounds at Del Monte in the dual-course event. Kite won the 1983 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am and 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, the site of his final two rounds in this Champions Tour event.
Cook won the 1981 Crosby for the first of his 11 PGA TOUR titles. He had the eagle at the par-five ninth plus five birdies and two bogeys.
"It was nice way to finish the round," Cook said. "I made a lot of birdies and took advantage of my chances. If you have a good round here you know you have a chance. You've got to manage Pebble Beach and keep damage to a minimum."
He's winless this year after sharing the tour lead last season with three.
"My irons and wedges were on today," said Cook, who made four birdie putts from 8 feet or closer. "I took advantage of the par 5s. The greens are really good."
Kite birdied his final two holes. He had six birdies and one bogey.
"I played a really nice round today," said Kite, who won the last of his 10 Champions Tour victories in the 2008 Boeing Classic. "I had a nice lesson on the range yesterday with Peter Jacobsen and Olin Browne on my swing. It really helped. I was a little off on my backswing."
Defending champion Jeff Sluman had a 71 at Del Monte. He also won the event in 2008 and 2009.
Eighty-one junior players from the First Tee program played alongside the pros.