GOLF: Nick Price matches Champions Tour record with 60
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) – Nick Price matched the lowest round in Champions Tour history, eagling two of final four holes Friday for a career-best 11-under 60 in the Toshiba Classic.
Seeking his fourth victory on the 50-and-over tour, Price eagled the par-5 15th and 18th holes and had seven birdies in a bogey-free round at Newport Beach Country Club.
“There was a flash in my mind when I eagled 15, I sort of thought to myself, if I birdie the last three holes, I can break 60,” Price said. “I’ve never done that before.”
Tom Purtzer shot a 60 in the 2004 event. Isao Aoki (1997 Emerald Coast Classic), Walter Morgan (2002 AT&T Canada Senior Open), Bruce Fleisher (2002 RJR Championship), Jim Thorpe (2003 Long Island Classic) and Craig Stadler (2005 Blue Angels Classic) also have shot 60 on the tour.
Price, a three-time major champion with 18 PGA Tour victories, had a five-stroke lead over Bernhard Langer, Mark O’Meara, Mark Wiebe and Brad Bryant. Defending champion Fred Couples opened with a 66.
The 54-year-old Price hit a 2-iron approach from 218 yards to 2 feet to set up the eagle on the 495-yard 15th, then chipped in from off the green on the 510-yard 18th.
At the beginning of the year, Price decided to make some switches with his equipment, switching his driver and irons and going with a blade belly putter instead of a mallet. They were similar to his old clubs, but with some minor adjustments.
“It’s funny when you start playing well, it’s not one particular thing, it’s a combination of a lot of little things,” Price said. “The few times, three or four times that I’ve run into really good streaks in my career, that’s what did it.”
Langer, coming off a victory Feb. 20 in the ACE Group Classic in Naples, Fla., had a double bogey on one of the easiest holes on the course when his 8-iron shot on the 143-yard, par-3 fourth hit the bank in front of the green and rolled back into the pond.
I could have hit maybe a 7,” Langer said. “I pulled my 8 a fraction and it still came up a little short. It might have been a 7.”
The 2008 Toshiba champion then bogeyed the par-4 sixth and failed to birdie the relatively easy 18th.
“I’m a little ticked off that I didn’t birdie 18,” Langer said. “I had a beautiful drive down there.”
Ian Baker-Finch shot a 74 in his Champions Tour debut.