PEBBLE BEACH, California — John Cook shot a 4-under 68 at Pebble Beach on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Tom Byrum and Skip Kendall in the Champions Tour's First Tee Open.
Cook had eight birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey to reach 8-under 135. He won the 1981 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach for the first of his 11 PGA Tour titles.
"I will draw on my experience," said Cook, who has played at Pebble Beach since he was teenager and won the 1975 California State Amateur in high school. "It will be a big day for me and I want to see how I hold up."
Cook, who has nine Champions Tour title, missed 10 weeks earlier this season after a freak, non-golf back injury at his home in Florida. He hasn't won on the Champions Tour since early in the 2013 season.
Kendall, playing in his second Champions Tour event after earning a spot in the field in open qualifying Tuesday, had a 69 at Pebble Beach. Byrum shot a 3-under 68 at Poppy Hills.
"It was a nice follow-up to a good round," said Kendall, who played most of this season on the Web.com Tour. "It was a little chilly this morning and there was a little wind blowing. I started on the 10th tee and that's always a challenge out there to get it get it going. But I hit a couple of good shots so I got off to a good start."
Byrum, a one-time PGA Tour winner who is winless on the Champions Tour, had a bogey and two pars on his final three holes on the back nine at Poppy Hills.
"I left a few out there, even finishing in the dark it seemed like I had some chances," Byrum said. "Overall, I am happy with my position and how I played the past two days."
Marco Dawson was fourth at 6 under after a 68 at Poppy Hills.
Davis Love III, also making his second Champions Tour start, and two-time U.S. Open Lee Janzen topped the group at 5 under. Love had a 67 at Pebble Beach, and Janzen a 70 at Poppy Hills.
First-round leader Blaine McCallister was 4 under after a 73 at Pebble Beach.
Two-time defending champion Kirk Triplett was 2 under after a 72 at Pebble Beach.
The final round will be played at Pebble Beach.