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The American Bob Estes carded seven birdies in a blemish-free round to set the target while New Zealander Alker birdied the final hole to join Estes on seven under par and move one stroke clear of 2003 Masters winner Mike Weir and American Paul Claxton.
Alker started the day by recording four birdies on the front nine and proceeded to trend in the same direction on the back nine with an eagle on the par five 10th hole and admits he was nervous on the first tee especially playing alongside two of golfs greats, Bernhard Langer and Ernie Els.
“Playing with Bernhard and Ernie, they are Hall of Famers,” he said. “Little jitters on the first tee, but no, I’m playing with nice freedom right now. I’m making birdies and being aggressive which today we could be because the greens were a bit softer and the course was softened up. It was kind of up there for the taking.
“Once I get going, I’m fine. But try not to watch what Bernhard is doing or Ernie is doing, so I’ve got to get a little focus on what I’m doing. I don’t want to get comfortable out here. I’m just enjoying my golf and enjoying competing against these guys.”
Four-time PGA Tour winner Bob Estes will also head into round two on seven under par and has made a little adjustment to his setup and taken advantage of the strong parts of his game.
“I’ve always been a pretty good iron play, but I started driving it better on Tuesday even before the Pro-Am round in the afternoon and made a little adjustment to my setup and started hitting the driver, 3-wood and the 5-wood in particular, straighter. And so that’s been, putting me in good position for the most part. Take advantage of my iron game, which I’m usually pretty good at.”
Former Ryder Cup player Robert Karlsson sits in tied fifth position on five under par alongside four-time PGA Tour winner Duffy Waldorf. 10 players take up tied seventh position on four under par including three-time Legends Tour winner Thomas Levet, 28-time European Tour winner Ernie Els and 21-time European Tour winner Miguel Ángel Jiménez.
The second round will begin at 7:30am local time with Steven Alker teeing it up alongside Ernie Els and Bernhard Langer at 8:58am while Bob Estes will tee it up alongside Peter Fowler and Eric Chiles at 9:31am.
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