Eger Seizes Lead at Pebble

By Sports NetworkSeptember 3, 2004, 4:00 pm
Champions TourPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- David Eger posted a 5-under-par 67 on Friday to take the first-round lead of The First Tee Open at Pebble Beach.
D.A. Weibring is alone in second place after a 4-under-par 68.
This is the inaugural year of the event and it is unique on the Champions Tour. The players are paired with two junior players and an amateur. Play is spread over Pebble Beach Golf Links and Bayonet Golf Course over the first two rounds before Pebble Beach takes over on Sunday.
Eger opened on the back nine at Pebble Beach and collected his first birdie at the par-3 12th. He knocked a four-iron to four feet and converted the putt.
He went on a run of birdies shortly after the two at the 12th. Eger hit a pitching wedge to 8 feet to set up birdie at the 14th, then made it back-to-back birdies at 15 when his sandwedge approach stopped 2 feet from the hole. He tallied his third birdie in a row at the 16th after his pitching wedge second left him with a 5-footer.
Eger came out quickly on his second nine as he hit a 9-iron to 6 feet at the first. He sank that birdie try, then parred the following four holes. At the 520-yard, par-5 sixth, Eger missed the green, but chipped to 6 feet, where he rattled in the birdie putt.
Trouble loomed for Eger at the par-4 eighth. He missed the green, then chipped to 10 feet. Eger's par putt did not fall into the cup, but the 52- year-old winner of last year's MasterCard Classic still has the lead after round one.
'I'd never played anything here before,' admitted Eger. 'Pebble Beach was benign today. There was no wind really and the greens aren't too hard or firm. I played well and saved pars when I needed to.'
Weibring, who tied for fourth last week at the Tradition, also started on the back nine at Pebble Beach on Friday. He sank a 20-foot birdie putt at the 10th, then holed an 8-foot birdie putt at the 15th and a 20-footer for birdie at 18 to make the turn at 3-under 33.
Weibring looked like he was going to distance himself from the field with his play early on his second nine. He holed a 12-foot birdie putt at the first and made it two in a row thanks to an up-and-down birdie from off the green at the par-5 second.
Things went downhill for Weibring shortly after the back-to-back birdies at one and two. He missed an 8-footer for par at the third, then found a greenside bunker at the par-3 fifth. Weibring could not save par from the sand, but did get within one of the lead at six, when he two-putted for birdie from 25 feet.
'I had a beautiful morning to play,' said Weibring. 'It's always great to come back here to Pebble Beach. I think the pros have been more excited than the kids are.'
Tom Watson, who won the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, shot a 2-under 70 and is tied for third place with reigning U.S. Senior Open winner Peter Jacobsen, Rodger Davis, Bruce Lietzke, Tom Purtzer, Jose Maria Canizares, Bruce Summerhays, Mike Reid, Gary Koch, and Jay Haas, who will be representing the United States in the Ryder Cup in two weeks.
Craig Stadler, who won last week's Tradition and is the elder circuit's leading money winner, shot an even-par 72 and is part of a large group tied for 19th place. Fuzzy Zoeller, Lanny Wadkins, Gil Morgan and Don January, who is making his first start in an official Champions Tour event since 1999, are also part of the logjam at even-par 72.
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