Golden Bear Sighting: Nicklaus, partner Player tee it up in Demaret Division at Legends of Golf in Savannah

mmccombs@islandpacket.comApril 23, 2013 

SAVANNAH -- There was no doubt who the fans came to see Monday in the first round of the Demaret Division of the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf at the Westin Savannah Harbor Resort & Spa.

Jack Nicklaus joined Gary Player for the 36-hole partner best-ball event, and the galleries swelled at whatever hole the duo played along with the team of Lee Trevino and Mike Hill.

Aside from a father-son event, it was Nicklaus' first competitive round of golf in eight years.

"I haven't played in eight years," Nicklaus said, "and I haven't been this ticked in eight years."

Nicklaus and Player played the round at 3 under despite bogeying three straight holes early in the round.

"Quite the contrary," Nicklaus said when asked if the round had inspired him to return to competitive golf. "It inspires me to not play anymore."

Trevino and Hill shot 7 under, good enough for second, a shot behind Frank Beard and Larry Ziegler.

"This the only tournament that Mike and I play in," Trevino said. "We're like family. We're like brothers. We love to compete and we can't compete anymore on the tour. This is our whole year."

Hilton Head Island's Jim Ferree had to go it alone, as partner Miller Barber is ill.

"I played pretty well," Ferree said. "I was 2-over-par right away through three holes and then played 3 under the rest of the way. I felt like I should have been hitting the ball closer to the hole and having better opportunities for birdies."

Ferree said the Legends of Golf continues to give him the opportunity to see those in the game he doesn't see often.

"I love it. It's a great tournament for me," Ferree said. "I don't have far to go. This is a very nice golf course. The fairways are perfect. And there are a lot of long-time connections with guys who I played a lot of golf with and have a lot of respect for. And some of them are fading away pretty fast."

He held no illusions about his chances of winning today, though.

"If I shoot a 60 tomorrow, I'll be all right," Ferree said. "That's one better than my all-time low. No problem, right?"

As Trevino and Hill held court for reporters after their round, Nicklaus signed autographs for the masses outside the scoring trailer.

"We don't know if we'll ever get a chance to play with him again," Trevino said. "We'll probably see each other, but as far as playing a competitive round of golf, it'll probably never happen again. I look at this today and I cherish this. It may be the last round I play with him."

Nicklaus wasn't having any of the sentimentality.

"If he'd have played a little worse," he said, "he could have played with us tomorrow."

Demaret Division

First-round results/Second-round pairings

8 a.m.: FRANK BEARD - LARRY ZIEGLER 64

MIKE HILL - LEE TREVINO 65

8:10 a.m.: JIM ALBUS - JIM DENT 66

BUTCH BAIRD - LARRY LAORETTI 66

8:20 a.m.: DON BIES - TOM SHAW 66

JIM COLBERT - BOB MURPHY 66

8:30 a.m.: BRUCE DEVLIN - LARRY MOWRY 68

CHARLES COODY - DALE DOUGLASS 68

8:40 a.m.: TOMMY JACOBS - JOHNNY POTT 68

JACK NICKLAUS - GARY PLAYER 69

8:50 a.m.: AL GEIBERGER - JIMMY POWELL 69

GIBBY GILBERT - J. C. SNEAD 70

9 a.m.: DON JANUARY - GENE LITTLER 70

JIM FERREE--MILLER BARBER 71

9:10 a.m.: TOMMY AARON - LOU GRAHAM 71

HOMERO BLANCAS - BOBBY NICHOLS 74

9:20 a.m.: JACK FLECK - BOB TOSKI 79

LEE ELDER - DOUG SANDERS 80

9:30 a.m.: DOW FINSTERWALD - BOB GOALBY 82

DOUG FORD - BILLY MAXWELL 88

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