Defending champion Bernhard Langer opened with a bogey-free 8-under-par 64 to take a one-stroke lead over Bob Tway in the Ace Group Classic on the Talon Course at Twin Eagles Golf Club in Naples, Fla.
Langer, who has won the tournament two of the last three years, birdied four of the first six holes while playing the front nine in 5-under 31, and added three birdies in the last six holes. He credited a change in his putting stance for the fast start.
“Basically, I’m standing farther away,” said Langer, who captured the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii for his 19th victory on the Champions Tour. “That’s really all that is. It just changes my stroke a little bit. I’ve messed around with that in the past, standing closer, standing farther away, just get a better release.
“We’re constantly trying to improve. Every golfer, you don’t want to stand still, because to stand still is like getting worse. You’re constantly trying for that little edge on somebody else.”
Tway, who has not won on the senior circuit after winning eight times on the PGA Tour, birdied his last three holes while finishing on the front nine and had his only bogey of the day at No. 18 while posting a 65.
Olin Browne was alone in third after a bogey-free 66 that included three consecutive birdies through No. 5, while Duffy Waldorf, who lost to Michael Allen in a playoff last week at the Allianz Championship, had a 67 to tie for fourth with Kirk Triplett.
Allen finished at 68 to tie for sixth with Mike Goodes, Steve Lowery, Tommy Armour III, Jay Haas, John Riegger and Mark McNulty of Ireland.