O'Meara leads after first round on Champions Tour

Updated: 18 April 2010 13:24 IST

A putting tip that Mark O'Meara received from Tiger Woods last week paid off on Friday, when he shot a 6-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead over Mike Reid and d

O'Meara leads after first round on Champions Tour

Lutz, Florida: A putting tip that Mark O'Meara received from Tiger Woods last week paid off on Friday, when he shot a 6-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead over Mike Reid and defending champion Nick Price in the first round of the Champion Tour's Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am.

Two-time champion Tom Watson followed his memorable weekend at the Masters with a 67, and was among a group of eight players within two shots of the lead. Joining him at 4 under were Tom Pernice Jr., Tommy Armour III, Bernhard Langer, Russ Cochran and Tom Jenkins.

O'Meara has been in contention several times but never won in four seasons on the Champions Tour, despite winning the Masters and British Open after turning 40.

He started on the back nine at TPC Tampa Bay and made the turn at even, before a string of six birdies in eight holes beginning at the par-3 second.

"I got a little bit of a putting lesson from Tiger last week at Augusta," O'Meara said. "I was kind of rakey on my putts, so he wanted me to swing kind of two degrees more out to the right. I didn't putt that great at Augusta, but today I putted a lot better."

Woods was caught by an Associated Press photographer with cell phone in hand last week, taking a video of O'Meara's putting stroke. The two friends played a practice round before the Masters, where O'Meara missed the cut and Woods finished tied fourth in his return to golf.

O'Meara played much better on Friday, starting on the back nine at TPC Tampa Bay and making the turn at even before a string of six birdies in eight holes beginning at the par-3 second.

"Anytime you do six birdies in nine holes on the front nine, you'll take it," O'Meara said. "I putted well, though, and anyone, on any tour, needs to putt well to win."

Watson won this tournament in 2007 and '08 and knows the pitfalls of the course.

"Playing this course is like going through a minefield," Watson said. "There are a lot of shots over the water and to keep it out of the water (needs to be) your game plan."

Price had six birdies during his round, even though he could have been forgiven for a slow start. The defending champion wasn't sure how he would fare after arriving late Wednesday from a family trip to Egypt.

"My swing, I feel, is still coming back over the Atlantic," Price said before the start of the tournament. "I'd be very surprised if I contended this week."

He's joined at 5 under by Reid, who started his round with a double bogey but bounced back with five birdies and an eagle the rest of the way.

"Golf is just _ it's such an in-the-moment challenge," Reid said. "Every time you tee the ball up, you're going to be tested, but you hope that your of a mind to keep going forward even though you may be stumbling."
Topics : Golf
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