Bobby Wadkins leads on Champions Tour

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla., Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Bobby Wadkins shot a 6-under-par 66 Friday to take a two-stroke advantage over Christy O'Connor after the opening day of the Royal Caribbean Classic, the first full-field event of the Champions Tour this season.

While Wadkins was among the more consistent golfers on the Champions Tour last season, he did not win any of the 30 events he entered and has not won since the 2001 Lightpath Classic.


"I've learned that you have to be close after Friday," said Wadkins, who battled through back spasms that also plagued him at the end of last year. "The guys in the fitness trailer are my best friends."

The 51-year-old Virginia native, however, had 11 top-10 finishes in 2002 and was 13th on the money list with $1.27 million.

Only Allen Doyle, who was 12th on the list, earned more money last year without a victory.

After the opening round, Fuzzy Zoeller was disqualified in an unusual ruling that involved him giving a demonstration for a local television show.

Zoeller hit some shots on the sixth fairway for the television camera, but that violated a rule that says when two or more rounds of a stroke-play tournament are to be played on consecutive days, a player cannot practice on the course between those rounds.


Wadkins had eight birdies and two bogeys on Friday. He had three birdies on the first five holes on the back nine and atoned for a bogey on No. 17 with a birdie on the 18th.

"It didn't really hurt me until the end of last year," Wadkins said. "I can't do the work around the greens that I need to do. The back bothers me on the chipping and putting."

O'Connor played a bogey-free round and birdied three of the last six holes to move into second place.

Gary Koch shot a 69 in his Champions Tour debut and was one of five golfers three shots off the pace. A long-time golf analyst for NBC who turned 50 in November, the University of Florida graduate won six times on the PGA Tour.

Walter Morgan, David Eger, Jerry McGee and Rodger Davis also shot 69.

Doyle, Dave Barr, Jim Ahern, Walter Hall, Gil Morgan and Mike McCullough were all at 70 while defending champion John Jacobs shot a 71.

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