Champions Tour: Bryant leads season-opening

Brad Bryant shot a 9-under 63 on Friday in the US Champions Tour's season-opening MasterCard Championship.

updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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Brad Bryant shot a 9-under 63 on Friday in the US Champions Tour's season-opening MasterCard Championship to take a two-stroke lead over defending champion Loren Roberts and Ben Crenshaw. Bryant birdied six of the first seven holes to make the turn at 30. He capped his round by holing a 58-foot birdie putt on No 18 that seemed to roll forever across the green. "I made every putt I looked at. It was amazing," Bryant said. "I don't know. I wish I knew how it happened because you'd like to be able to keep it around. "I putted sort of like Ben Crenshaw on steroids." The 63 matched a career low for Bryant. He shot a 63 in the second round of the 1995 Walt Disney World Classic, his only PGA Tour victory. The field of 41 had ideal conditions for several birdie and eagle opportunities, with clear conditions with warm temperatures and only a soft ocean breeze. The players raved about the perfect greens. Roberts, who won four events last year including his first three starts, said with the course playing so easy, he'll need to stay aggressive. Roberts, who shot his 15th straight sub-par round, had six birdies in his bogey-free round and just missed two eagle opportunities on Nos 4 and 10. Crenshaw, who turned 55 this month, opened with a 65 for the second straight year, carding a 31 on the back nine including birdies on Nos 10, 11, 12 and 14. The 19-time winner on the regular US tour is one of four invited player at Hualalai, along with Gary Player, Raymond Floyd and Lanny Wadkins. Crenshaw's best finish last year was a fourth-place tie in the AT&T Championship. Hale Irwin, coming off his first winless season in 12 years, joined Allen Doyle and Jerry Pate at 66 in the event limited to major champions in the last five years and other tournament winners in the last two years. Dana Quigley, who won the MasterCard in 2005 and '03, was in the group at 67, along with Eduardo Romero, Craig Stadler, Gil Morgan, Tom Kite, Tom Jenkins and D.A Weibring. On his golden wedding anniversary, the 71-year-old Player bettered his age by two strokes with a 69.