ABILENE, Tex. — Gary Player saved par on the final hole with a left-handed shot near a tree and tied Butch Baird for the first-round lead Friday in the Gatlin Brothers Southwest senior tournament at the Fairway Oaks Country Club.
Both finished at four-under-par 68.
George Archer, a Senior Tour rookie, and Mike Hill are tied for third at 69. Orville Moody, John Paul Cain and Al Kelley were at 70.
Player sank a 40-shot birdie putt on 17th hole to move into a tie with Baird, but put his drive on 18 next to a tree.
Player, a right-hander, put the ball back on the fairway with left-handed swing of his putter. Then he hit a driver that landed just short of the green, chipped to within seven feet and made the putt for a par.
"That and the putt on 17 really gave me a kick," said Player, who won the $1.5-million RJR Championship last week.