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Edwards fires 9-under 63, grabs lead in Kansas City

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- David Edwards shot a 9-under 63 on
Friday to grab the first-round lead as par took a beating in the
Greater Kansas City Golf Classic.

The 50-year-old Edwards did not have a bogey in his morning
round on the Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate course. On the
442-yard par-4 18th, he rolled in a 60-footer for his ninth birdie
and a two-stroke lead over Bob Gilder, Tom Jenkins, Des Smyth and
Brad Bryant, the third-leading money winner on the Champions Tour.

Scores were generally lower than expected on the 6-year-old
Nicklaus-designed layout as the wind was calmer than it often is
this time of year on the Plains.

Two more strokes back at 5 under were defending champion Dana Quigley,
Gary McCord, Lonnie Nielsen and Jim Chancey, who came in
ranked 99th on the money list. Bobby Wadkins, who aced the 211-yard
second hole with a 4-iron, was in a five-player group at 68, and 10
players opened with 69s.

Jay Haas, the leading money winner and a three-time Champions
Tour winner this year, struggled to a 71. Loren Roberts, No. 2 on
the money list, shot a 73.

Edwards, playing in the day's first group, said he hadn't been
putting well the week before.

"You try too hard sometimes to force them in and you can't get
anything to go in," said Edwards, who is looking for his first
Champions Tour victory.

"And sometimes when you don't expect them to go in they start
falling in. Today they found the hole. If I can do that again the
next couple of days, I ought to stay in the hunt."

Jenkins, who lost to John Harris on the first playoff hole last
week at the Commerce Bank Championship, holed out a middle-iron
shot from the fairway for an eagle 2 for the second tournament in a
row.

Last Saturday, he sank a 7-iron shot on the wet and spongy sixth
hole of the Red Course at Eisenhower Park. On Friday, his 6-iron
shot on the par-4 fifth hole at LionsGate sailed about 175 feet to
the dry green and "kind of trickled in."

"We're kind of getting these little spurts in the middle of
these rounds, which is a pretty good feeling," said Jenkins, a
six-time winner on the Champions Tour.

"This was a was a huge, huge boost in my confidence. I felt
pretty good about the round. I felt I was maintaining my patience.
I was driving it well, hitting my irons crisp."

Jenkins also was glad he had decided this week to retire a
driver he'd used for more than two years.

With the new club, he said, "you could tell the flight of the
golf ball was stable and it didn't have any drift to it."

"If you can drive the ball and have confidence in it, it's
fairly easy to score out here," he said.

Crowd favorite Tom Watson, who twice has finished second in this
tournament but never won a professional event in his hometown, was
eight strokes back at 71.

"That was a pretty lousy round of golf," said Watson. "You
look at the scores and you saw a lot of great scores out there.
With this type of wind, you're going to make a lot of birdies on
the par-5s. I had an ugly round out there and it was not a whole
lot of fun for me."

Watson denied he feels extra pressure playing in front of his
hometown fans, who always make him the gallery favorite.

"It's fun playing here. I'm just disappointed in the way I
played," he said. "It's never fun to not perform well, but it's a
day-to-day thing. Tomorrow I could go out and shoot a 63. I should
be able to handle this golf course better than I did today. It's
not that. I put the pressure on myself swinging the golf club
poorly."