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Hale Irwin one stroke back at age 73

Hale Irwin is trying to become the oldest winner on the Champions Tour at the age of 73. (CARY EDMONDSON / AP)
Hale Irwin is trying to become the oldest winner on the Champions Tour at the age of 73. (CARY EDMONDSON / AP)
Associated Press

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Hale Irwin shot a 5-under 67 at Pebble Beach on Friday in the Pure Insurance Championship, leaving the 73-year-old Hall of Famer a stroke behind leader David Frost in the PGA Tour Champions event.

Irwin played his final nine holes in 6-under 26. He birdied the par-4 first, eagled the par-5 second and added birdies on the par-3 fifth, par-5 sixth and par-3 seventh.

Irwin won the PGA Tour event at Pebble Beach in 1984 and took the senior tournament in 2005. The three-time U.S. Open champion won the last of record 45 Champions titles in 2007. He won 20 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1992.

Mike Fetchick is the oldest winner in tour history, taking the 1985 Hilton Head Seniors Invitational at 63 years to the day.

Frost had five birdies in a six-hole stretch on his second nine at Pebble Beach.

“One of my favorites,” Frost said about the seaside course. “It’s hard finding fault with the location. The golf course being exposed like that to the beauty is just something you can’t really put in perspective. You sort of feel like you want to play well out here and it’s so nice.”

Marco Dawson, Ken Tanigawa and Olin Browne were a stroke back with Irwin, also opening at Pebble Beach. They will play par-71 Poppy Hills on Saturday, then return to Pebble Beach on Sunday in the event that pairs players with juniors from The First Tee program.

“It wasn’t as cold as I thought it was going to be,” Dawson said. “I thought it was going to be foggy, windy, cold and it wasn’t foggy or windy or cold. It was a pretty good day.”

Tanigawa eagled the par-5 second. The 50-year-old former UCLA player earned a card at Q-school playing a re-instated amateur and turned professional again at the start of the season.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer was two strokes back after a 67 at par-71 Poppy Hills.

“You’re trying to play smart-aggressive,” Langer said. “You don’t want to take on ridiculous shots, but you need to hit good shots, too, and have opportunities. We’re only one round into the tournament, so tomorrow’s no different.”

Scott McCarron, Tom Pernice Jr. and Joe Durant also shot 67 at Poppy Hills, and Paul Broadhurst, Kirk Triplett, Duffy Waldorf and Tom Gillis had 68s at par-72 Pebble Beach. McCarron is $53,660 behind Schwab Cup leader Miguel Angel Jimenez, with the Spaniard not playing this week.

Frost won the last of his six PGA Tour Champions titles in 2015. The 59-year-old South African won 10 times on the PGA Tour.

“If you think back to the days of the Bing Crosby, this was my first tournament I ever played on the PGA Tour,” Frost said. “I made the cut and then I teed off on the 10th hole on Sunday with Lee Trevino, so it brought back a lot of memories to me today.”

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