Jim Thorpe and Jay Haas opened with 64s in the Champions Tour's event, and nine players -- including Senior PGA Championship winner Denis Watson -- had 65s on the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort's Raven Golf Club course.
'The golf course is defenseless -- no wind,' Purtzer said. 'There were a lot of birdies out there.'
Romero, coming off a second-place finish last week in the Senior PGA in Kiawah Island, S.C., narrowly missed a hole-in-one on the 158-yard eighth hole. His ball landed about a foot from the pin.
'My confidence is going up and up and up,' Romero said. 'This week it's very difficult to beat me because my confidence is very good and my swing is very good.'
Romero may have taken the confidence thing too far, though, when he three-putted the par-5 17th and settled for a par. Romero said he just lost concentration.
'I think it was because I'm thinking 59,' Romero said.
Purtzer and Romero tied the course record set last year by defending champion Bobby Wadkins. Wadkins shot a 69 on Friday.
Purtzer won the AT&T Championship in March.
'Once your get into a kind of rhythm, you feel you can got at the flags,' he said.
Tournament officials may move the tees back for Saturday's second round if the wind doesn't pick up.
Romero, though, said he's hoping for more wind because he's used to it in his homeland, Argentina.
'When you play good, it's no problem,' he said.
Purtzer has been paying on the Champions Tour since 2001, but Romero is just in his second year after struggling in 2006.
'Now, I feel like home,' Romero said. 'I know everything now. I know the courses. I know the people.'