Sure enough, he followed his sterling 10-under 62 with an even-par 72 on Friday, but still had a one-shot lead heading into the third round at Crosswater Golf Club.
Its very rare to go really low back to back, Bryant said.
Bryant was at 10-under 134, a stroke better than defending champion Fred Funk, who had a 67 Friday in the Champion Tours fourth major of the year. Loren Roberts, John Cook and Larry Mize were in a group another stroke back at 8 under.
Bryants low opening round matched the tournament record. Tom Watson shot 62 in the second row in 2003, when the tournament was played in Aloha, Ore., and Doug Tewell had a final-round 62 in 2001, when the event was held in Scottsdale, Ariz.
I actually played pretty well today ' and got absolutely nothing to show for it, said Bryant, who had a pair of birdies offset by two bogeys.
Bryants best finish of the year was fourth at the Dicks Sporting Goods Open in June, and he has four overall tour victories, his last coming at the Senior U.S. Open in 2007.
Funk was coming off a victory at the Senior Open, where he became the first player in a USGA championship to finish 20 under par. A week earlier, he lost in a three-way playoff at the Senior British Open.
Funk has finished in the top 10 in the previous three Champions Tour majors this season and leads the Charles Schwab Cup points standings.
Im playing very patient and just letting it happen, Funk said.
Roberts won the Tradition in 2005 and has won twice on the tour this year, including that playoff for the Senior British Open. The eight-time winner on the PGA Tour recovered after a double-bogey on the par-4 eighth hole to shoot 71 on Friday.
Its an attitude thing, its a confidence thing, Roberts said. If you have confidence in your game, you can get over it.
Watson wasnt so lucky. After two bogeys and a double bogey on the front nine, he fell off the leaderboard and finished with a 74 to put him 3 under entering the weekend.
He nonetheless had one of the biggest galleries on the 7,533-yard course built in the shadow of Mr. Bachelor. Watson has said this week that hes encountered many well-wishers in the past month, after losing in a playoff to Stewart Cink at the British Open.
Watson won the Tradition in 2003.
Cook, who has struggled on the Champions Tour since winning last years AT&T Championship, shot a 67, as did Mize, who just joined the tour last year.
No bogeys for me, and thats always a good thing, Cook said.
After temperatures nearly hit 100 on Thursday, a cooling trend expected to continue through the weekend brought highs into the mid-80s.
Last year, Funk shot a final-round 69 for a three-shot victory over Mike Goodes and his first win in a major on the tour. The final round was delayed by thunderstorms.
The Tradition started at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale in 1989 before moving to Superstition Mountain for a year in 2002. With the help of Oregon native Peter Jacobsen, the event moved again in 2003 to the Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club west of Portland, and in 2007 came to Crosswater.