PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Kevin Sutherland birdied four his last six holes at Pebble Beach for a 4-under 68 and the second-round lead Saturday in the PGA Tour Champions’ Nature Valley First Tee Open.
The 52-year-old Sutherland had an 8-under 135 total for a one-stroke lead over Paul Broadhurst, the Englishman who won the Senior British Open at Carnoustie in July.
From Sacramento, Sutherland is winless on the 50-and-over tour after winning once on the PGA Tour. In 2014, he set the senior tour record with a 13-under 59 in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.
“This is always a special place to me,” Sutherland said. “Being a northern California guy, Pebble is the mecca of golf for northern California golfers. The whole Carmel/Monterey area is always a special place, so to win any tournament here is quite an accomplishment and will definitely feel great.”
Broadhurst followed his opening 66 with a 70 at Poppy Hills.
“Really enjoy the course,” Broadhurst said. “Played it on Wednesday with Bernhard Langer in practice and really, really enjoy the course. Played a lot harder today. It was pretty calm on Wednesday. Today, it’s quite a bit of wind out there, so makes it tricky.”
Some players were unable to finish before dark. France’s Jean Van de Velde was the top player still on the course at 3 under with two holes left.
Playing in the morning, Sutherland began his run on the par-4 fourth and also birdied the par-5 sixth, par-3 seventh and par-4 ninth. He played his opening nine in even par with two birdies and two bogeys.
“If you can get Pebble early, it’s always great,” Sutherland said. “Even on a good day it’s always nice to get Pebble early because the greens are a little softer and a little bit fresher as far as not as many spike marks and stuff. Anytime, you can get out there early at Pebble it’s great.
The professionals are playing alongside boys and girls from The First Tee programs throughout the country. Sutherland is teaming with Jonathan Tanihana, also from Sacramento.
“I enjoyed playing with Jonathan tremendously,” Sutherland said. “He’s a fine young man and he’s got a tremendous golf game. And today we made a bunch much birdies.”
Woody Austin and Greg Kraft were tied for third at 5 under. Austin had a 69 at Poppy Hills, and Kraft shot 68 at Pebble Beach.
Langer was 4 under after a 69 at Pebble Beach. The 59-year-old German star leads the tour with four victories this season.
Vijay Singh was even par after a 68 at Poppy Hills.
John Daly was 5 over after his second 74, this one at Poppy Hills.