Beans 63 Leads Greater Hickory

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2006 Greater Hickory Classic at Rock BarnCONOVER, N.C. -- Andy Bean closed with three straight birdies Friday to shoot a 9-under-par 63 and take a four-stroke lead after the opening round of the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn.
 
Bean's 63 matched Joe Inman's course record, which he set in 2003. Bean did have the advantage of playing today's round with lift, clean and place rules in affect on the Jones Course at Rock Barn Golf Club and Spa.
 
Chip Beck, playing in his second Champions Tour event, posted a 5-under-par 67. He was joined in second place by Dana Quigley and Mark Johnson.
 
Tom Kite shares fifth place with Tom Purtzer, Leonard Thompson, Tom Wargo and Bob Eastwood at minus-4.
 
Bean got going with an eagle on the par-5 fourth. He came right back with a 6-foot birdie putt on No. 5. After parring the sixth, Bean notched back-to-back birdies from the par-5 seventh.
 
The 53-year-old, who is looking for his first Champions Tour victory, moved to 6 under with a 7-foot birdie putt on the 10th. Bean came right back with a birdie on 11 from 8 feet out.
 
Bean, however, three-putted for bogey on the 13th to slip back to minus-6. Coming down the stretch, Bean pulled away.
 
He drained a 23-footer for birdie on the 16th, then stuck his tee shot at the par-3 17th within 4 feet. Bean drained a 12-footer for birdie on 18 to grab a share of the course record.
 
'I hit the ball well all day, I'm talking right at the hole,' Bean stated. 'All in all it was a very good round. It could have been better, but I'm pleased with the start.'
 
Beck, who finished tied for fifth last week in his first Champions Tour event, got off to a fast start with birdies on one and two. After carding his third birdie on the fourth, he stumbled to a bogey at six. Beck bounced right back with birdies on seven and eight.
 
The 50-year-old sank a 4-footer for birdie on 12, then dropped another stroke on 14. Beck gained his share of second with a 5-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th.
 
'It was nice to start my round with two birdies,' Beck said. 'I played a really solid front nine. I feel like I played really well.'
 
Quigley ran off three straight birdies -- all from inside 13 feet -- starting at the par-3 third. After 10 straight pars, Quigley made a 9-footer on 16 and a 6-footer for birdie on 18 to close a bogey-free round.
 
Johnson opened with birdies on two and four. He moved to 3 under with a birdie on the par-5 seventh. On the back nine, Johnson notched consecutive birdies from the 14th and closed with three pars in a row to cap his bogey-free round.
 
U.S. Senior Open champion Allen Doyle and two-time winner this year Brad Bryant each carded rounds of 3-under-par 69. They share 10th place with Tim Simpson, Walter Hall, Massy Kuramoto, Bill Longmuir, Mark Lye, Jim Albus, Jose Maria Canizares, R.W. Eaks, Vicente Fernandez, Gil Morgan and Joe Ozaki.
 
Defending champion Jay Haas struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in round one.
 
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