Toms, Duke share early lead on Champions Tour

Golf

DULUTH, Ga. — David Toms ran off three straight birdies after a rain delay and closed with a brief birdie when he judged the wind proper, giving him a 7-under 65 and a share of the lead with Ken Duke after one spherical of the Mitsubishi Electrical Basic.

Duke was first off at No. 1 on the TPC Sugarloaf and dropped only one shot. Equally essential was ending with pars in a robust wind after the rain stoppage.

Steve Flesch had a 67. Steve Stricker, in his second PGA Tour Champions event after being out six months recovering from an sickness that triggered him to lose 25 kilos, was within the group at 68. Stricker is coming off a runner-up end final week.

Toms selected to take a cart, allowable on the 50-and-older circuit although uncommon for him, primarily as a result of the opposite two gamers in his group have been in carts and he feared an extended stroll again to the clubhouse realizing a rain delay was inevitable.

He realized they have been in for an extended slog — Sugarloaf, which previously hosted a PGA Tour occasion, is greater than a 9-mile stroll from the primary tee to the 18th inexperienced — when it bought so moist that carts have been now not allowed within the fairway.

Toms made three straight birdies after the delay and felt stable the remainder of the best way, choosing up three extra birdies on the entrance 9 earlier than the wind bought stronger.

“You have been simply hanging on for expensive life,” he stated. “I used to be lucky to make a few lengthy par putts that stored the spherical going.”

A kind of was on the 421-yard seventh gap, the place Toms stated his strategy may have been something from a wedge with the wind at his again to a 6-iron if it was in his face. He simply wasn’t certain which course it was going.

“It was simply all over,” Toms stated. “I pulled a 7. I believed I hit an excellent shot, and it ran by means of the inexperienced, had a tricky up-and-down, and I made most likely a couple of 12-foot par putt there to sort of maintain me going.”

On his last gap, the 453-yard ninth, he judged the wind proper for a shot to a entrance pin and made birdie from brief vary.

Duke had 5 birdies on the entrance 9, making his lone bogey on the 221-yard eighth gap when he missed the inexperienced.

Gamers may raise, clear and place their golf balls within the fairway due to the climate.

“Ball in hand, the wind did not choose up till later within the spherical, greens are completely good right here at TPC Sugarloaf,” Duke stated. “You get ball in hand for lots of those gamers out right here, they’re going to shoot rating.”

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