Irwin, Barr trail by one stroke after first round


SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Gil Morgan shot a 7-under-par 65 Friday for
a one-stroke lead over Hale Irwin and Dave Barr in the first round
of the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.

Craig Stadler, seeking his second win of the Champions Tour
season, was at 67. Bruce Fleisher, also looking for his second win,
was among five players at 68.

This was the 22nd straight round of par or better for Morgan,
who won the SBC Classic last month. He had eight birdies and one
bogey on the island layout in the middle of the Savannah River.

"I felt like I had a chance to birdie every hole," Morgan
said. "Of course, you like to think that every day, but today it
seemed feasible."

At this pace, the winner is almost certain to better the
10-under 206 total posted in 2003 by defending champion Bruce
Lietzke. The Legends, which spawned the senior circuit in 1978, had
been played in four different cities and on eight different courses
before coming to Savannah last year.

"Maybe we know the course a little better," Morgan said.
"Also, the course is faster this year. Last year, we had a lot of
rain. So that might account for these low scores, too."

Irwin, playing for the first time in four weeks, found it
helpful to be in the same threesome with Morgan.

"All I had to do was look at Gil, and I had an automatic
goal," he said. "But then I had to get back to hitting shots that

Barr cited a new putter for his success. He had been using the
same putter since 1971 but didn't feel he had been making his share
of putts lately.

"I'm not going to throw the old one away, that's for sure,"
said Barr, who is bidding for his second win since joining the tour
two years ago.

With the new putter, Barr birdied the final three holes with
putts of 25, 35 and 18 feet to complete a round of seven birdies
and one bogey.

Tony Jacklin and Bill Rogers had a 10-under 62 in the team
competition. The Legends had been strictly a team competition until
2002. Players in the two-man better-ball competition play for
unofficial money now.

Some players were critical of No. 6, listed as a 438-yard
par-4, which has been altered since last year. "They moved the
fairway bunker a bit left, but they moved the tee box back 40
yards," Barr said. "So, you're now a 4-iron away from a green
designed for an 8- or 7-iron." Gary Koch hit what he felt was a
good drive and was still about 190 yards from the center of the
green. "I would call the green severe for the length of the
hole," Koch said. "Is that diplomatic enough?" ... Lietzke,
recovering from a sore shoulder that has sidelined him most of the
season, shot a 70.