Back from Winged Foot Doyle Leads Champions


EAST MEADOW, N.Y. -- Allen Doyle is happy to be back on the Champions Tour.
'It's a walk in the park after Winged Foot,' Doyle said Friday after taking the first-round lead at the Commerce Bank Championship.
Last week, the 57-year-old Doyle missed the U.S. Open cut at 10 over par after shooting 76-74 at Winged Foot. On Friday at the Eisenhower Park Red Course on Long Island, red numbers came more easily.
Doyle collected nine birdies with two bogeys in a round of 7-under-par 64 to take a one-shot lead over Gil Morgan. The experience at Winged Foot -- missing fairways, hitting out of 6-inch rough -- helped Doyle's on-course mentality.
'I have a different mind set after last week,' Doyle said. 'I don't beat myself up now when I miss a fairway.'
Morgan mixed seven birdies with one bogey for a 6-under 65. Jack Ferenz, Tom Wargo, Don Pooley and Jim Ahern are tied for third place at 4-under 67.
The Champions Tour returned from a two-week absence following the rain postponement of the Bank of America Championship and an off week for the U.S. Open.
Doyle made his return with a bogey on the first hole, but responded with four consecutive birdies.
He stuck a 9-iron within 8 feet at the par-3 second, chipped within 7 feet at the par-5 third, knocked a 5-iron to a foot at the par-4 fourth and then rolled in a 20-foot putt at the par-3 fifth.
After a two straight pars, Doyle stuck a pitching wedge 8 feet from the hole at the par-4 eighth for another birdie and made the turn at minus-4.
Doyle made birdie putts of 3 and 4 feet at the 10th and 12th holes, then rolled in a 15-footer for birdie at the 14th.
He stumbled to another bogey at the par-4 15th, where he needed to lay up after a bad drive, but got that shot back with a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-3 16th.
Doyle needed just 25 putts to finish his round, second-best in the field.
'The greens are faster than in past years here.' Doyle said. 'I like that. But you've got to drive it in the fairway first.'
Doyle's 7-under 64 was his best score on the Champions Tour this year and tied for his best round at this event (round two, 2000). He has finished among the top 10 in five of his seven previous appearances on Long Island.
Looking to win in four consecutive Champions Tour starts, Jay Haas opened with a 2-under 69 and is tied for 14th place along with nine other players, including defending champion Ron Streck.
Haas tied for 37th last week at the U.S. Open and set the all-time record for most cuts made on the PGA TOUR.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Commerce Bank Championship
  • Full Coverage - Commerce Bank Championship>