Vicente Fernandez and Fulton Allem opened with 69s in windy conditions on the Jack Nicklaus designed-Punta Espada course. The sustained 25 mph wind led to an average score of 74.688, the highest opening-round mark this season.
The wind was making the course play really hard and todays round was one of my best, even going back to when I played on the PGA TOUR, Wiebe said. My strength today was missing in the right spots. Mentally, Im tired, but Im happy to get in with my score.
The SAS Championship winner last year in his Champions Tour debut, Wiebe had six birdies, four on the back nine. He holed a bunker shot from 15 feet for birdie on the par-4 first hole, and chipped in from 20 feet for birdie on the difficult par-3 13th. The two-time PGA Tour also made one of just four birdies on the par-4 18th, hitting a 3-iron second shot within 3 feet.
Its nice to get off to a good start, but we have two more days to go and the wind is supposed to be about the same as it was today, Wiebe said.
The 50-year-old Allem, a three-time winner on the PGA TOUR, hit a 2-iron to 8 feet for only eagle of the day at the par-5 sixth.
The eagle was definitely the highlight of the day, Allem said. Overall, I hit a few bad shots, but I was able to make that eagle and five birdies which really helped.
Jay Haas, Tom Watson and James Mason opened with 70s, and Sandy Lyle, Scott Hoch, Eduardo Romero, Brad Bryant, Mike Reid, Gary McCord and Bruce Vaughan had 71s.
Bernhard Langer, the Ginn Championship winner last week at Hammock Beach, shot a 74, while Joey Sindelar and Greg Hickman had 75s in their Champions Tour debuts.