Originally created 02/09/02

Watson shoots 64 to lead ACE Group Classic



NAPLES, Fla. -- Tom Watson had a hole-in-one in a round of 8-under-par 64 Friday to take a one-stroke lead over Dana Quigley in the Senior PGA Tour's ACE Group Classic.

Ben Crenshaw shot a 76 in his senior tour debut, closing with a bogey on the par-5 No. 17 and quadruple bogey on the par-4 18th.

Watson birdied Nos. 10, 11 and 14 to reach 5 under, then aced the 163-yard, par-3 16th with a 6-iron and followed with a 25-foot birdie putt on No. 17. He also saved par on No. 8, holing a 20-footer after hitting into a bunker.

"The eighth hole was the turnaround, the 16th hole was the icing on the cake," the fifth-time British Open winner said.

"That 20-footer on No. 8 was what turned the round around. I was pretty upset with myself after hitting lousy shots and three-putting, and kind of wasting a good start with the three birdies. It really just turned from a so-so round into a real good one."

Crenshaw hit into the water on Nos. 17 and 18.

On No. 17, a par-5 with a green guarded by water on the left, the two-time Masters champion pulled his second shot into the water. On the 457-yard 18th that goes around a large pond, Crenshaw hit his tee shot into a fairway bunker. He barely got it out of the bunker, then pushed his third shot into the water. After the penalty stroke, Crenshaw hit his approach to the left of the green, chipped on and two-putted for an 8.

"I'm trying to do my best to forget this round," Crenshaw said. "I seemed to have made all of my mistakes on two holes."

Jim Thorpe was two strokes back after a 68, and 1999 winner Allen Doyle followed at 67. Hale Irwin was four back at 68 along with Don Pooley, Sammy Rachels, Tom Jenkins and Dick Mast. Senior rookies Fuzzy Zoeller and Tom Purtzer shot 71s.

Irwin was penalized a stroke after his round for accidentally dropping his ball on his coin on No. 5. The coin moved, resulting in the penalty.

Watson is seeking his first victory in Florida. He nearly won in Naples two years ago at Pelican Marsh Golf Club, falling to Lanny Wadkins in a four-man playoff. Watson has played in 75 regular tour events and six senior events in the state.

"I've finished second a few times, but I've never won," Watson said. I don't know. Too many chads, I guess."

Spectators and players got a surprise visit in the afternoon.

Gov. Jeb Bush and former President George Bush stopped by after playing in a fund-raiser for the Florida governor in Naples on Friday morning. The Bushes visited briefly with Irwin on the driving range, then went out on carts - with secret service - and met with Crenshaw, a longtime friend of the family.