Sutherland ties Maggert for lead

Kevin Sutherland shot 6-under-par 66 to tie Jeff Maggert for the lead midway through the Regions Tradition, the first Champions Tour major of the season, at Shoal Creek Golf in Birmingham, Ala.

The 50-year-old Sutherland, from Sacramento and Fresno State, seemed at home at Shoal Creek with six birdies and an eagle on the 11th hole, even though he had not played the course in 29 years since the 1986 U.S. Amateur. His only bogey came at No. 2.

“Course knowledge is always nice to have; it’s never a bad thing,” said Sutherland, whose only victory on the PGA Tour came in the 2002 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. “But no matter how much course knowledge you have, you still have to drive the ball in the fairway and make putts, and I did that today. Where course knowledge is nice is knowing what putts are fast and slow.

“It was nice to kind of wash away that bogey really fast and be able to move on. I was 2-under four holes later, so it was like the bogey was a distant memory. If you make another bogey after that first one, then it becomes a little bit problematic.”

Maggert, who won three times on the PGA Tour and collected his first Champions Tour title last year in the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, also eagled the 11th hole and made birdies at Nos. 17 and 18 to complete a second 67.

Michael Allen of San Mateo and Nevada-Reno also birdied the last two holes for a 67 and was three strokes back in solo third, while Bernhard Langer of Germany posted a 66 and was five shots behind in a tie for third with Kenny Perry and Fred Funk, who both had 69s.

Defending champion Colin Montgomerie of Scotland struggled to a 73 and was eight strokes back in a tie for 14th.


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