CHAMPIONS TOUR Wadkins overcomes spasms, leads by two
Christie O'Connor was all alone in second place.
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) -- Bobby Wadkins overcame back spasms over the final six holes to take a two-shot lead Friday in the opening round of the Royal Caribbean Classic.
Wadkins had two bogeys and eight birdies in the first full-field even on the Champions Tour, formerly known as the Senior PGA Tour.
Wadkins' best birdie may have been his last, a two-putt from 100 feet on the par-5 No. 18 to finish two shots ahead of Christie O'Connor.
Back spasms started at 12th
Wadkins started feeling the back spasms after he birdied the 12th. He then found bunkers on Nos. 15, 16 and 17, but he wasn't worried.
"Once I got it to 6 under I knew whatever happens I'll be in the ballgame," he said. "That's the advantage of being in the back on Friday: You can look at the board and know whatever happens, you're still going to be in the hunt."
O'Connor withdrew from the tour after 13 events last year because of lingering leg problems from when a motorcycle fell on him in 2001. He shot a 4-under 68.
O'Connor had 13 pins and two bolts inserted into his left leg after the accident, and doctors told him he might never play again. He was the clubhouse leader before Wadkins finished his round.
"I hope whoever wins it takes it from me," he said. "I certainly hope I don't give it away."
Fuzzy Zoeller had the most interesting first day. Zoeller shot a 1-over 73 but was later disqualified when he teed off on the Crandon Gold Course while filming a segment for a local television station.
Zoeller spent an hour giving golf instruction to a television reporter, and when the cameraman said he wanted to film the ball being hit at full speed, Zoeller hit three balls off the No. 6 tee into the lake. PGA Tour officials saw Zoeller hitting off the tee and disqualified him.
Tour rules say competitors cannot practice on the course between rounds.
Defending champ has 71
John Jacobs, who won the event last year, shot 71.
Television announcer Gary Koch was the early leader in his tour debut, going into the 17th hole at 5 under, but he bogeyed the last two holes to finish with a 69. He is in a five-way tie for third.
"If you would have told me at the start of this day, at 7:59 this morning, that I would make 69, I would have said thank you very much and enjoyed the day," he said. "But I was a little disappointed with the finish."
Walter Morgan, Jerry McGee, David Eger and Rodger Davis also shot 69.
The $1.45 million tournament is the first of 31 full-field events.