OKLAHOMA CITY -- Bob Gilder continued his recent stretch of solid golf Thursday, shooting a 5-under-par 67 to take the lead after the first round of the Senior Tour Championship.
Gilder, who tied for second last week at San Antonio and tied for fourth a week earlier at Napa, Calif., had a bogey-free round and was one stroke ahead of Tom Kite. Bruce Summerhays and Jim Ahern were another shot back at 3-under.
Gilder got going with a 25-foot eagle putt on the par-5 3rd, and then added three birdies on a cool, breezy afternoon at Gaillardia Golf & Country Club.
"I hit some great iron shots and just hit the ball really well," said Gilder, in his rookie season on the senior tour. "I hit the ball at the hole all day long."
He missed short birdie putts on the first two holes, and had good birdie chances on a handful of others.
"You feel like you hit it so good, you had so many chances, it should have been a lot better," Gilder said. "But I'm not complaining."
Neither was Kite, who was 4-under through six holes thanks in part to an eagle on No. 3. He parred the final 12 holes, then said he felt good enough about his game that he would play next week in the Southern Farm Bureau Classic on the PGA Tour.
"I'm excited with the way I'm swinging right now. I'm hitting it as well from tee to green as I ever have in my life," Kite said. "I really feel like if the putter would light up a little bit, I can be competitive on any tour."
Summerhays said he had been bothered by a stiff neck in his previous two tournaments, where he finished tied for 27th and tied for 51st. The neck was not a problem Thursday as he didn't have a bogey.
"I drove the ball quite nicely today and that made a big difference in the round," Summerhays said. "Everything was basically at the pin and in the middle of the fairway."
Ahern, seeking his first senior victory, had a wild round that included six birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey.
Defending champion Tom Watson overcame a triple-bogey 8 on No. 3 to shoot a 71.
Allen Doyle, trying to secure the money title, played the front nine in 3-over and wound up with a 1-over 73. Bruce Fleisher, the No. 2 money-winner entering this season-ending event, had a 2-under 70.
Divots: The winds were much lighter than the one that blew 25-30 mph on Wednesday, but they were still challenging. "It didn't blow like it did yesterday, but it's still whipping," Kite said. ... Oklahoma golfers Gil Morgan and Doug Tewell shot a 70 and 71, respectively. ... Larry Nelson, whose five victories have him in the hunt for player of the year, opened with a 75.
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