INCHEON, South Korea – David Peoples shot a 6-under 66 Friday and was tied atop an American-dominated leaderboard with Michael Allen and Mark Calcavecchia after the first round of the Songdo IBD Championship.
The trio share a one-stroke lead over Mark O'Meara who finished at 5-under 67 at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea. The $3 million purse is the largest of any official Champions Tour event.
Six players, including Australian Peter Senior, the only non-American in the top-10, are tied for fifth at 4-under 68.
Peoples’ round included five birdies and an eagle at the par-5 15th where he hit a 3-wood to 10 feet and holed the putt. His lone bogey came at hole No. 6.
“I didn’t putt well today and the ones I made I didn’t expect to,” said Peoples, who began the day using a cross-handed grip before switching to a regular grip after three-putting the sixth hole. “I’ve struggled more with my putting than I did at a younger age.”
Calcavecchia had eight birdies and two bogeys and is seeking to become the first player to win back-to-back starts on the Champions Tour this year after capturing his first title at the Boeing Classic in his last start.
“I hit very few bad shots all day,” said Calcavecchia, who admitted he got a great break when his tee shot at the driveable par-4 14th hole hit a rock in the adjacent creek and popped out, leading to a birdie. “I made eight birdies and five of those were tap-ins.”
Allen started on the back nine and, like Peoples, also recorded five birdies, an eagle and a bogey. He made the turn at 2-under 34 after a birdie on No. 18 and followed that with a birdie, birdie, eagle stretch over the next three holes.
Defending champion Russ Cochran is tied for 11th after opening with a 3-under 69.