CHAMP: Billy Andrade among 3 tied for lead at Regions Tradition

Billy Andrade drained five birdies without a bogey to earn a share of the lead after one round of the Regions Tradition, the first major on the PGA Tour Champions calendar, on Thursday in Birmingham, Ala.

Joining Andrade at 67 were Timothy O’Neal, a first alternate who made two eagles, and England’s Paul Broadhurst, who made four of his seven birdies during his second nine.

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Big names are on their tails. Defending champion Steve Stricker, Irishman Padraig Harrington, South Africa’s Ernie Els and Ken Duke are tied for fourth at 4-under 68. Germany’s Bernhard Langer is part of a six-way tie for eighth at 3-under 69.

Andrade, 59, won three Champions Tour events in 2015 but has not broken through since. He finished runner-up at the Tradition in 2019.

Andrade made the turn at Greystone Golf & Country Club in 1 under before getting hot. He birdied the par-4 11th and strung together three birdies in a row at Nos. 13-15.

“I started feeling better with my putter, got some more feel with it, and made a few putts there in the middle,” Andrade said. “I made a minor adjustment in my stance and I started getting the ball going where I wanted it to go. I hit some nice shots where they weren’t long putts, they were in there, so all in all I had a great day.”

O’Neal, 50, is making his tournament debut and just his 10th start on the 50-and-over circuit. He started his round on the back nine and eagled the par-5 18th. Then, after a bogey at No. 1, he came to another par 5 and eagled the second hole.

O’Neal followed that up with two straight birdies at Nos. 3-4 for a boost to 5 under.

“I drove it well, started on the back nine and was able to hit 4-iron into the 18-green to about 5 feet for eagle,” O’Neal said. “Then the other eagle was on the first par 5 on the front 9, hole 2. I was able to hit 8-iron in there and made about a 12-footer for eagle.

“I was finally able to start making some putts and hopefully I can continue doing that.”

After also starting his round on the back nine, Broadhurst had three birdies and two bogeys on the card through 11 holes. The par-4 third began a run of three birdies for him, and he added one at the par-4 eighth.

Unlike Andrade and O’Neal, the 57-year-old Broadhurst has senior majors on his resume. He was victorious at the 2016 Senior Open Championship and the 2018 Senior PGA.

–Field Level Media

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