Doug Barron, Steven Alker share Mitsubishi Electric lead

Doug Barron and New Zealand's Steven Alker are tied for the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Classic after shooting 7-under 65s on Friday in Duluth, Geogia.

Barron and Alker birdied their way through TPC Sugarloaf but have just a one-stroke lead over Shane Bertsch and Tim Petrovic, each of whom turned in bogey-free 66s.

Barron was bogey-free, as well, until making his only misstep at the par-4 17th. He got the stroke back at the par-5 18th with his eighth birdie.

"You see the scores, people don't realize this is a hard golf course. It demands a lot off the tee," Barron said. "And I'm driving it really well, so pretty happy with that."

The 54-year-old, who last won on the PGA Tour Champions in 2020, is making his fifth start since missing most of a year due to two elbow surgeries.

"I live with the pain. The doctors tell me I can't hurt it any worse," Barron said. "It's still torn. They did more of a noninvasive procedure. But it is very sore. I have to rehab it every single day."

Alker, 52, won the 2022 Charles Schwab Cup, ended his 2023 season with a tournament win and kicked off 2024 with a win in Hawaii. But this week marks his first time at TPC Sugarloaf.

"The course is in great shape," Alker said. "Good solid par 4s out there. You've got to have your wits about you on a lot of holes."

Alker started on the back nine and birdied five of his first six holes. He finished with two bogeys, but they were easily counteracted by his nine birdies.

Tied for fifth at 5-under 67 are Englishman Paul Broadhurst and Australians Richard Green and John Senden. Broadhurst won last week's Invited Celebrity Classic.

Defending champion Stephen Ames of Canada opened with a 1-under 71.

–Field Level Media--REUTERS

Most Popular
Related Article
Says Stories