Calvin Peete, the 1984 Vardon Trophy winner as golf's leading scorer, hit short-iron shots close to the cup for a birdie-birdie finish and a six-under-par 65 that gave him a one-stroke lead Thursday in the first round of the $450,000 Phoenix Open.
"The weather was absolutely gorgeous--ideal," he said. "And I think that's one reason I played so well."
Temperatures were near 70 degrees.
Peete lofted an eight-iron shot within 18 inches of the cup for a birdie on the 17th that gave him a share of the top spot, then took sole control with a little sand wedge shot to within a foot of the flag on the 18th.
Isao Aoki of Japan, Morris Hatalsky and Phil Blackmar, a 6-7, 260-pound rookie, shared second place at 66. Blackmar, who started bogey-bogey, played the back nine in 30 and chipped in twice, the second time for an eagle-three on the final hole at the 6,726-yard Phoenix Country Club course.
The group at 67, two off the pace in the 50th anniversary of this event, included Nick Faldo of England, Gary Koch, Ron Streck, Doug Tewell and Jeff Thomsen.
PGA champion Lee Trevino, making his first start of the year, and Tom Purtzer, the defending champion here, led the group at 68.