Stadler McCord Amongst Leader in NY

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EAST MEADOW, N.Y. -- Ron Streck fired a 9-under-par 62 on Friday to take a two-shot lead after the first round of the Commerce Bank Championship.
 
Craig Stadler is alone in second place at 7-under-par 64 at the Red Course at Eisenhower Park. CBS analyst Gary McCord, Wayne Levi, Dave Eichelberger and Darrell Kestner are tied for third place at 6-under-par 65.
 
Streck broke into red figures at the par-5 third when he chipped his third to a foot and tapped in. He drained an 8-footer for birdie at the fifth and made it two in a row at the next when his 5-iron stopped 6 feet from the hole.
 
Streck, a 50-year-old who debuted on the Champions Tour last year at the Senior British Open, knocked a 9-iron to 2 feet to set up birdie at the eighth. He closed his front nine with a 20-foot birdie putt at the ninth to make the turn at 5-under 30.
 
He reached the green in two at the par-5 12th. Streck two-putted from 35 feet for a birdie, then collected his second consecutive birdie from 18 feet at the par-3 13th.
 
Streck parred his next three holes, but wedged his third to 3 feet at the par-5 17th. He rolled in the birdie putt, and closed with a beautiful 6-iron approach at the last. The ball stopped 3 feet from the hole and Streck converted for the 62.
 
'I had it close four or five times today and really hit the ball good,' said Streck. 'I wasn't paying much attention to how many under par I was. I was just trying to make birdies.'
 
Streck's 9-under 62 was his best on the Champions Tour and matched his best from the PGA Tour, where he won twice. He shot 62 four times on the PGA Tour, most recently in 1990.
 
This is the first time Streck has held a piece of the first-round lead since the 1984 Texas Open.
 
'I've been away from the game for 10 years,' said Streck, who blamed knee problems. 'It's hard to focus unless you're playing well. Hopefully I can do that the next two days.'
 
Stadler, who is winless thus far in 2005 because of back problems, also played beautifully on the front nine. He knocked a 5-iron to a foot for birdie at the second, then two-putted from 40 feet at the third.
 
He ran home a 15-foot birdie putt at the fifth, then tapped in some short birdie putts at eight and nine to also make the turn in 30.
 
Stadler three-putted for a bogey at the 10th, but rebounded with back-to-back birdies from the 11th. He holed a 20-foot clutch par save at the 13th, and drained a 15-foot birdie putt at the 15th to get within two.
 
Stadler made a 12-footer for par at the last to stay in second place.
 
'I played good today,' said Stadler. 'I got three weeks of good rest before I went to Boston (last week's Bank of America Championship). Knock on wood, I'm good to go the rest of the year.'
 
John Harris, Tom McKnight, Vicente Fernandez and D.A. Weibring are tied for seventh place at 5-under-par 66.
 
Jim Thorpe, the two-time defending champion who fired a 60 here two years ago, opened his title defense with a 2-under-par 69. He is part of a group tied for 27th place.
 
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - Commerce Bank Championship

  • Full Coverage - Commerce Bank Championship