BOCA RATON, Fla. - Olin Browne made eight birdies in a nine-hole stretch Friday to shoot a 9-under 63 and take a two-shot lead after the first round of the Allianz Championship at Broken Sound.
Browne was 1-under through seven holes before he started his birdie streak with a pair at the 17th and 18th holes
at The Old Course
. After making the turn, he reeled off six more birdies in the first seven holes of the front nine to lead Kenny Perry by two.
Browne, a Tequesta resident, didn't make a bogey and birdied all four par-5 holes. The 63 was one off his a career low round (though he once shot a 58 in U.S. Open qualifying).
"It was one of those days where I was in the zone to make a lot of putts," said Browne, who has won twice on the PGA Tour Champions, including the 2011 U.S. Senior Open. "It added up slowly, which is nice."
Perry had an eagle, six birdies and a bogey after giving himself a kick in the pants during the offseason. Perry won at least once during his first five seasons on the PGA Tour Champions, but had just three top-10s last year.
"I've hit more balls in the last two weeks than I've hit in two years combined," Perry said. "I'm tired of playing bad. I feel like I used to play, like I knew what I was doing out there. But it's one good round. I need to back it up with two more."
Tom Byrum, Marco Dawson and Scott McCarron are tied for third place with 66s. Former PGA champion David Toms, making his second start on the 50-and-older circuit, is tied for sixth with Jay Don Blake and Joe Durant at 67.
"I left a few out there, but at the same time I recovered well a couple times," said Toms, who chipped in for birdie on the 12th hole. "Those unexpected things kind of make up for the shots that you feel like you've left on the course."
The large crowd at Broken Sound was treated with postcard-perfect weather and one of the best fields in PGA TOUR Champions history.
Hall of Famer Fred Couples was tied for ninth after a 68, a very respectable score for someone who had never seen Broken Sound's back nine.
"I got away with some bad shots, but I was a little blind out there," Couples said. "I don't know about those 7- and 8-unders. Those are great scores."
Crowd favorite John Daly, making his Allianz Championship debut, birdied the last hole for a 71.
"I hit it good," Daly said. "It's probably one of the worst putting rounds I've had in a long time."
Not for Browne, who was red-hot with the flat stick. But he's been around long enough to know his work has just started.
"A 63 is a great first day, but it's just the first day," Browne said.
Especially with the caliber of the players chasing him.