PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. - Blaine McCallister birdied his last two holes Friday at Poppy Hills for a 5-under 66 and the first-round lead in the Champions Tour's First Tee Open.
McCallister, seeking his first Champions Tour victory after winning five times on the PGA Tour, closed with birdies on the par-4 eighth and par-5 ninth holes.
''I'm swinging it well and hitting the golf ball well,'' said McCallister, who has one top-10 finish in 74 career Champions Tour starts. ''I'm starting to feel like I belong out here.''
McCallister's round, which ended 5 1/2 hours after John Cook took the morning clubhouse lead, included a 35-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th - his eighth hole of the day.
''They say golf is about patience, patience, patience,'' McCallister said. ''Some people have been nice to me with sponsors' exemptions and I feel it's finally starting to pay off.''
''It's taken me awhile to get back to 100 percent,'' said Cook, a nine-time Champions Tour winner who missed 10 weeks of the season after a suffering a back injury at his Florida home in February.
Kendall made the field Tuesday in an open qualifier.
''I putted extremely well and I took advantage of my opportunities,'' Kendall said.
Two-time defending champion Kirk Triplett had 69 at Poppy Hills.
Davis Love III, making his second Champions Tour start, had a 71 at Poppy Hills. The 20-time PGA Tour winner tied for 64th last week in Hawaii. He won the PGA Tour's Pebble Beach event in 2001 and 2003.