Trio Flying High at Blue Angels

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2005 Blue Angels ClassicMILTON, Fla. -- Vicente Fernandez, Morris Hatalsky and Jim Thorpe each fired rounds of 7-under-par 63 on Friday to share the opening-round lead of The Blue Angels Classic.
 
Bruce Lietzke, Dick Mast and Hajime Meshiai are knotted in fourth place at minus-6. Reigning U.S. Senior Open champion Peter Jacobsen, John Harris and Dave Barr are tied for seventh at 5-under-par 65 at the Moors Golf Club.
 
It did not look like it was going to be a special round for Fernandez on Friday when his tee ball found the water at No. 1. He saved par from 4 feet, then rolled in a pair of birdie putts from inside 10 feet at three and four.
 
Fernandez two-putted for birdie at the par-5 seventh. He drained a 22-footer for birdie at the par-3 eighth to make the turn at 4-under-par 31.
 
Fernandez parred his first four holes on the back nine, then ran home a 12-foot birdie putt at the 14th. He recorded back-to-back birdies at 16 and 17, from three feet and 17 feet, respectively. Fernandez missed a 6-foot birdie putt at the last, but still tied his lowest round on the Champions Tour.
 
'I didn't get off to a good start when I hit my tee shot in the water at one,' said Fernandez. 'From there on, I hit the ball well. The conditions were good and the greens were holding.'
 
Hatalsky was only 1 under par through 10 holes, but went on a major birdie run. He birdied the par-5 11th, then sank a 25-footer for birdie at the 12th. Hatalsky tapped in a pair of 4-foot birdie putts at 13 and 14 for four in a row.
 
At the 15th, Hatalsky knocked his approach to 6 feet and converted the birdie try. At the par-3 16th, his tee ball stopped 3 feet from the hole to set up his sixth consecutive birdie.
 
He parred his remaining two holes to also match his lowest round on the elder circuit.
 
'It was a combination of things,' said Hatalsky, who has posted three consecutive top-10 finishes on tour. 'I hit some nice putts and I hit some nice shots up there.'
 
Thorpe, who won his last start at the FedEx's Kinko's Classic, went birdie-bogey to start, but collected four birdies in a five-hole span from the fourth.
 
He parred his first three holes on the back nine, then ran off three in a row from the 13th to tie for the lead at 7 under par. Thorpe had a 7-footer at the last that could have given him sole possession of the lead, but the putt missed.
 
'The golf course is in great shape,' said Thorpe. 'The wind wasn't blowing that hard. We're going to make a lot of birdies this week. It's going to be very interesting.'
 
Defending champion Tom Jenkins, Mark McNulty, Mark McCumber, Gary Koch, Gil Morgan, Norm Jarvis, R.W. Eaks, Tom McKnight, Andy North, Bob Eastwood, Jose Maria Canizares, Dana Quigley and Bruce Fleisher are knotted in 10th place at minus-4.
 
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