SNOQUALMIE, Wash. — U.S. Senior Open champion Gene Sauers eagled the par-5 18th hole Friday for a 7-under 65 and a share of the Boeing Classic lead with Kirk Triplett.
Coming off his breakthrough victory two weeks ago in Ohio, the 54-year-old Sauers played the four par-5 holes in 5 under with the eagle and three birdies. He won three times on the PGA Tour.
Triplett had five- and four-hole birdie streaks at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. Also 54, he followed a bogey on the 11th — his second hole of the day — with five straight birdies and added a birdie on 18. On his second nine, he bogeyed the third, then ran off four in a row.
“I really just hit a lot of good wedges to real close, like 2 or 3 feet,” Triplett said. “That probably describes the round more than anything. It was by no means a pure ball-striking round or anything like that, I just really judged some wedges well. So, that’s where most of the birdies came.”
Triplett won the American Family Insurance Championship in June in Wisconsin for his fifth victory on the 50-and-over tour.
Duffy Waldorf and Stephen Ames were a stroke back.
Waldorf also had five straight birdies, from the 15th to the first. He won the season-opening event in Hawaii for his second senior title after winning four times in the PGA Tour.
Ames played the final six holes in 6 under. He birdied 13 and 14, eagled the par-5 15th and birdied 16 and 18. A naturalized Canadian citizen from Trinidad & Tobago, he’s winless in 36 starts on the 50-and-over tour after winning four times on the PGA Tour.
David Frost, Tom Byrum, 2012 champion Jay Don Blake, Jeff Maggert and Tom Pernice Jr shot 67. Frost also eagled the 18th and played the four par 5s in 5 under. Byrum birdied his final four holes.
“The greens are quite receptive, although it takes this big first bounce and then stops,” Frost said. “I remember last year the greens were a lot harder than they are this year, so I think that’s why the scores are a little lower this year. The golf course is just in great shape. The fairways are beautiful, the greens are really nice. It’s just a pleasure to come and play here.”
Bernhard Langer opened with a 69. The 58-year-old German star won the 2010 tournament and finished second behind Billy Andrade last year. Langer has three victories this year, two of them majors.
John Daly had a 71. He has three top-20 finishes in 10 PGA Tour Champions starts since turning 50, with the best a tie for 11th last month in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in New York. Last week, he tied for 51st in the regular European Tour’s Czech Masters.
Andrade had a 74.
Local favorite Fred Couples is sidelined by back problems.