Perry grabs early lead in San Antonio
San Antonio, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Kenny Perry fired a 7-under 65 on Friday to grab a 1-stroke lead after the opening round of the AT&T Championship.
Perry, a two-time winner this season, shared ninth place at this event last year.
Tom Pernice, Jr. opened with a 6-under 66 and is alone in second place, while Bernhard Langer and Anders Forsbrand share third place at minus-5 on the AT&T Canyons Course at TPC San Antonio.
Colin Montgomerie shot 4-under 68 and was joined in fifth place by Bob Tway and Russ Cochran.
Former champions John Cook, Fred Funk and Rod Spittle started with 3-under 69s and are among 13 players that are tied for eighth place at minus-3.
Perry, who tops the Charles Schwab Cup standings, ran off three consecutive birdies to start his round. He got a bad bounce on the fourth and his ball kicked into the water and that led to a bogey.
The 53-year-old bounced back with a birdie on the fifth. Perry made it two in a row as he birdied No. 6 before closing the front nine with three straight pars.
"After the last two weeks, I struggled making birdies and I came right out of the gate and birdied the first three holes," Perry said in a TV interview. "I hit a pretty shot on four and it hit the downslope of the bunker and spit it in the water, which was a bad break. But I birdied the next two holes right after that, so that pretty much settled me down for the day."
Perry, who won two major championships this year, moved within one of Pernice with a birdie on the par-5 12th. Perry grabbed a share of the lead as he birdied the 14th. He followed with a 2-putt birdie on the par-5 15th to grab the lead. Perry finished there as he parred the last three holes.
"I need to do the same thing I did today. I need to figure out a way to be relaxed, be calm and go out there and make birdies," Perry said on TV. "I know what I can do. I know what I'm capable of, but sometimes I get in my own way out there. Like I did at the U.S. Senior Open, I've got to figure out a way to just get out of my way and make birdies, and see if they can come and get me."
Pernice, the 3M Championship winner, started his round with a birdie on the par-5 second. After a trio of pars, he birdied the par-5 sixth and made it two in a row with a birdie the seventh.
The 54-year-old reeled off six consecutive pars from the eighth. Pernice ended that run with a birdie on the 14th. He came right back with a 6-foot birdie effort at the 15th.
Pernice stuffed his approach at the 17th within two feet and he kicked that in for his final birdie. At the time, he was one clear of Forsbrand, but Perry later moved ahead of Pernice for the lead.
"Always nice to be bogey-free. I drove the ball very well," Pernice said. "That might have been the best ball-striking day all year. I missed some opportunities early, but was pleased overall."
NOTES: Though Perry leads the Schwab Cup race, Langer tops the tour's money list ... This is the last full field event of the year. The top 30 get into next week's Charles Schwab Cup Championship and maintain full tour status for 2014 ... Loren Roberts had a hole-in-one on the par-3 13th ... Scott Dunlap (69) and Jose Coceres (73) made their tour debut.
10/25 20:03:22 ET