Pebble Beach, CA – Tom Kite and John Cook both posted rounds of 5-under 67 on Friday to share the first-round lead of the First Tee Open at Pebble Beach.
Play rotates over famed Pebble Beach Golf Links and Del Monte Golf Course over the first two rounds as the Champions Tour players tee it up with amateurs from the First Tee Program.
Kite won the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, but he teed it up at Del Monte on Friday, as did his fellow co-leader.
"You need to get off to a good start, especially here at Del Monte," said Kite, who hasn't won on the Champions Tour since 2008.
Mark McNulty, Loren Roberts and Tom Pernice, Jr. are tied for third place at 4-under 68.
Kite flew out of the gate on Friday. He started his round on the 10th tee, and two great lob-wedge approaches led to birdies at 10 and 11. Kite parred his last seven on his opening side, but collected another birdie at the par-5 first.
After three pars, Kite knocked a pitching-wedge to four feet to set up birdie at the fifth. He was 4-under for the championship, but a missed 5-footer for par at the sixth dropped him down the leaderboard.
Kite finished off his round in brilliant fashion to claim his piece of first. He hit a pitching-wedge to tap-in range for an easy birdie at the eighth, then closed out the round with a 5-foot birdie putt at the par-5 ninth.
"Played a really nice round today," said Kite. "I had a lesson on the range yesterday with Peter Jacobsen and Olin Browne on my swing. It really helped. I was a little off."
Cook also started on No. 10, but his first birdie came at the par-5 13th. He rattled off three consecutive birdies from the 15th, all from inside 10 feet, but found trouble at 18. He drove into the rough, then missed a 4-foot par save.
Cook posted five straight pars to open his back nine. He hit a beautiful 4- iron to eight feet to set up birdie at the sixth, however bad luck hurt him at No. 7. Cook's wedge approach spun off the green and led to a bogey.
He was 3-under on his round when he stepped to the par-5 ninth. Cook reached the green in two with a 3-wood, then poured in a 30-footer for eagle to match Kite at 5-under.
"Nice way to finish a round," said Cook. "We've had some success here. I won the State Championship here and pro-am portion of the AT&T (Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on the PGA Tour). This would be a good one to get."
Mark Calcavecchia, Corey Pavin, Brad Bryant, Gary Hallberg, Peter Senior and Bill Glasson share sixth place at 3-under 69. Of the players in the top 11 on the leaderboard, only Bryant played Pebble Beach on Friday.
NOTES: Kite owns 10 wins on the Champions Tour, while Cook has eight, including three last year...Defending champion Jeff Sluman, who has won three of the last four years, shot a 1-under 71 at Del Monte...Last week's Senior Players Champion Joe Daley had a 1-over 73 on Friday.