Langer, Bryant share lead in Texas
The Woodlands, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Bernhard Langer and Bart Bryant both fired 6-under 66s on Friday and they share the lead after the first round of the Insperity Invitational.
Langer has picked up two of his 19 Champions Tour wins at this event. Bryant shared 16th last year in his lone appearance at this event.
Defending champion Esteban Toledo opened with a 5-under 67 and is alone in third. Fred Funk, the 2012 winner, is one stroke back after posting a 68 on the Tournament Course at The Woodlands Country Club. He was joined there by Jeff Maggert and Joe Daley.
Fred Couples, the 2010 champion, shares seventh place at minus-3. He stands alongside Mark O'Meara, Bob Tway and Tommy Armour III, who have all finished second at this event, as well as Steve Lowery, Joey Sindelar and Steve Pate.
Langer, the 2007 and 2008 winner, opened with six pars in a row. He dropped in a birdie effort on the seventh and followed with four more pars.
The German 3-putted for bogey on the 12th to drop back to even-par, but he followed with a stellar run of golf. Langer 2-putted for birdie on the par-5 13th and followed with 4-footer on the 14th.
Langer birdied the 15th and made it four in a row on 16, when his 6-foot birdie putt found the bottom of the cup. He wasn't done as he kicked in a short birdie try on No. 17 and closed with a 7-foot birdie putt at the last.
"Well, it started off pretty basic. I was a little upset that I didn't birdie the first hole, but just put myself in the wrong place in the bunker there. Then played some decent golf, had a couple of chances, just couldn't make the putts," Langer said. "It's a beautiful stretch of hitting my irons and my second shots into the par-5s properly and made some good putts."
Bryant played the back nine first on Friday and stumbled to a bogey on 11th. He quickly erased that mistake with a 40-foot birdie putt on No. 12. Bryant also birdied the 13th and 14th to move to minus-2.
After four pars in a row, Bryant flew up the leaderboard as he birdied three of the first four holes on his second nine. Bryant carded four pars in a row from the fifth. At the ninth, his last, Bryant drained an 18-footer for birdie and a share of the first-round lead.
"I'll tell you, I played very solid golf today other than I hit it out of bounds on my second hole of the day on 11. That just kind of came out of nowhere," Bryant said. "Other than that, I hit the ball very well. I didn't make any mistakes and I just made a lot of really nice putts, a lot of 15-, 18-footers."
NOTES: This is the 19th time Langer has had a piece of the first-round lead on the Champions Tour, while Bryant is in that position for the second time ... Langer would become the first three-time winner of this event if he were to win the title this week ... Langer's six straight birdies to finish the round matched the best such streak in tournament history ... Kirk Triplett was the last player to successfully defend his title on the Champions Tour, when he won the First Tee Open last year.
05/02 20:41:20 ET