Chris DiMarco, Timothy O’Neal and Steve Flesch shot rounds of 6-under 66 Friday to forge a tie for the lead at the Pure Insurance Championship in Monterey Peninsula, Calif.
DiMarco and O’Neal played their first round at Pebble Beach Golf Links, while Flesch began his weekend at Spyglass Hill. Everyone in the 79-player field will play each course once, and after a 36-hole cut the final round will be at Pebble Beach.
The trio is one shot ahead of Ken Duke, who posted a 5-under 67 at Spyglass Hill.
DiMarco began his round on the back nine and shot a 7-under 29 with seven birdies, including five straight at Nos. 14-18. He cooled off after the turn, going 1-over for the rest of the way.
A three-time winner on the PGA Tour, DiMarco has never won on the PGA Tour Champions.
“I got off to a great start, made about a 30-footer on the first hole, No. 10, and just kind of went from there,” DiMarco said. “It just kind of added up. The putts were going dead center and it was something I haven’t been seeing lately so it was nice to see them go in.”
O’Neal is playing just his second PGA Tour Champions event after turning 50 last month. After tallying three birdies and two bogeys over his first nine holes, he heated up on the back nine with five birdies.
O’Neal birdied the par-5 18th late in the day to join the leaders.
“A little nervous starting off today, but the back nine went really well,” O’Neal said. “Like I said, if I can just keep hitting greens tomorrow and keep making putts.”
Flesch, who compiled seven birdies and one bogey, said he was glad he drew Spyglass before Pebble Beach.
“I think it’s always good to get Spyglass out of the way because it’s just hard,” Flesch said. “If you catch it early morning, it’s tough because the ball isn’t running, it plays long. I was glad when I saw my afternoon tee time here because you would get some bounce in the fairways. Spyglass is tough. Not to say that Pebble isn’t tough, but it’s definitely the harder of the two.”
New Zealand’s Steven Alker, who leads the Charles Schwab Cup money list, shot a 4-under 68 at Spyglass Hill. He was tied for fifth with Rocco Mediate (Spyglass Hill) as well as Lee Janzen, Billy Mayfair, Mark Walker and Brett Quigley (Pebble Beach).