Irwin Shares Lead Player Shoots Age


KAHUKU, Hawaii -- Defending champion Hale Irwin posted a 5-under-par 67 Friday to grab a share of the lead after the opening round of the Turtle Bay Championship. Irwin was joined atop the leaderboard by Allen Doyle, Keith Fergus and Gil Morgan.
Gary McCord, who finished second here to Irwin in 2002, carded a 4-under- par 68. He stands in a tie for fifth place with Bob Gilder, Jim Thorpe, Wayne Levi and MasterCard Championship winner Dana Quigley.
This event was not played in 2004 as it shifted from a late-fall event to an early season event.
Irwin has won this title four straight times from 2000-03. His experience on the Palmer Course at Turtle Bay Resort showed right away. He drained a 10-foot birdie putt at the first and came right back to convert a 25-footer for birdie at No. 2.
The all-time wins leader on the Champions Tour made it three straight to open his round as he two-putted for birdie at the par-5 third. Irwin followed with a 12-foot birdie putt at the fourth.
After missing a 10-footer for birdie at five, Irwin sank a 4-footer for birdie at six to move to 5 under through six holes. Any thoughts of challenging the course record of 61 died as Irwin posted eight straight pars around the turn.
Irwin then faltered to a three-putt bogey at the 15th. He closed with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 18th to grab a share of the lead.
'The start was essentially my day,' Irwin said. 'After the birdie at No. 6, it was like someone turned the tap off. I anticipated going low after that start, but it just didn't pan out.'
Doyle got his round going with a two-putt birdie at the third. He dropped in a 15-footer for birdie at six before an up-and-down birdie at the ninth. The 2004 Bayer Advantage Celebrity Pro-Am winner picked up another two-putt birdie at No. 12. Doyle then converted an 8-foot birdie putt at the 14th before parring the final four holes.
'I hit the ball good today,' said Doyle. 'I missed a couple of fairways. I thought scores might have been a bit lower today, but if you're tied for the lead you've got to be happy.'
Morgan had a steady round. He picked up one birdie over the first 11 holes. He then drained an eagle at the par-5 12th and birdied the 14th to move to minus-4. Morgan closed his bogey-free round with a birdie at the last.
Fergus had the most interesting round by far. He eagled the third, but tripped to a double-bogey at the fourth. He then dropped in back-to-back birdies from the fifth, then stumbled to a bogey at seven.
The 50-year-old Fergus came right back to birdie eight, but stumbled to another bogey at the ninth. He then birdied three of four holes from the 11th to move to 4 under. Like Morgan and Irwin, Fergus birdied the last for a share of the lead.
'That was plenty of action on the front side,' Fergus joked. 'I played solid on the back nine. I putted well today but just had a couple of errant irons.'
Gary Player matched his age on Friday, the fourth time he has done so on the Champions Tour, as he shot a 3-under-par 69. He was joined in a tie for 10th place by Hugh Baiocchi, Rodger Davis, R.W. Eaks, David Eger, Morris Hatalsky, Mike Reid, Bobby Wadkins, Bruce Lietzke, Dick Mast, Larry Nelson and 1998 champion Jay Sigel.
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