Roberts Four Back of McNulty Lietzke


2005 Outback Pro-Am 125LUTZ, Fla. -- Bruce Lietzke and Mark McNulty posted matching rounds of 6-under-par 66 on Friday to share the opening-round lead of the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am.
Gary McCord, Keith Fergus and Dan Pohl share third place at 4-under-par 67 at the TPC of Tampa Bay.
Loren Roberts' bid at winning the first four events of the 2006 Champions Tour schedule is in still in good shape. He carded a 2-under-par 69 on Friday and is part of a group tied for 14th place along with defending champion Hale Irwin.
Lietzke wasted little time in breaking into red figures on Friday. He hit a 5-iron to 10 feet to set up birdie at the second, then made it two in a row with a 20-footer at the third.
He overcame a poor drive at the par-5 seventh to make birdie, but gave one back at the next hole. Lietzke hit another poor drive at eight and missed the green short with his approach. He chipped to 12 feet and missed the par-saving putt.
Lietzke ran home an 18-foot birdie putt at the 10th, then drained a 7-foot eagle putt at the 495-yard, par-five 12th. He missed a short birdie putt at the 15th, but cashed in from 10 feet at 16 to reach 6 under par.
He parred his final two holes for his share of the lead.
'This was a really neat round,' said Lietzke, who has not on the Champions Tour since the 2003 U.S. Senior Open. 'I made great, really great putts out there. Did not drive the ball very good. Irons were good and putting is just fantastic today, other than that short putt I missed on 15.'
McNulty collected his first birdie of the round at the third when his 9-iron approach stopped 15 feet from the hole. He sank a 10-footer for birdie at the third, then added an additional front-nine birdie at the ninth.
McNulty, like his fellow first-round leader, took advantage of the 12th. He reached the green with a 5-iron then rolled in a 10-footer for eagle to reach 5 under par.
At the par-4 16th, McNulty used a 6-iron for his second shot. He converted the 25-foot birdie putt to join Lietzke in a tie atop the leaderboard.
'Today was one of those rounds where I played particularly well again,' said McNulty, who earned his first Champions Tour victory at this event in 2004. 'If you come back to a course which you've done well on, it's always got to do something with what fits your eye.'
McNulty, who has five wins in his two years on the elder circuit, has not gotten off to an ideal start this season. His best finish was a tie for 11th at last week's ACE Group Classic, but McNulty feels like he is making progress.
'The ball hasn't been coming out of the middle,' said McNulty, who acknowledged some adjustments made on Thursday were key to his strong round. 'At least I'm back on the right track and it's great to shoot a round like I did today.'
Dave Stockton, Larry Nelson, Tom Kite, John Harris, Des Smyth, Jerry Pate, Bobby Wadkins and Mark Johnson are knotted in sixth place at 3-under-par 68.
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