SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Considering he had to go it alone, Jim Ferree's 3-under-par 69 on Tuesday to finish 12th in the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf's Demaret Division was quite an accomplishment.
The three-time Demaret Division champion played alone both rounds this year, as Ferree's partner Miller Barber, 82, is at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., receiving treatment for stomach cancer.
Jim Colbert and Bob Murphy were the winners, making a birdie on the first playoff hole to defeat Frank Beard and Larry Ziegler. Both teams finished at 15-under-par 131.
Ferree, who shot 1-under 71 on Monday, said he was very proud of his solo rounds.
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"I was really concentrating and just trying not to be upset," Ferree said.
According to Ferree, Barber had chemotherapy treatments in the fall for cancer. Over the winter, with a compromised immune system, he battled pneumonia three times. Then, Ferree said, doctors found cancer again less than a month ago in his abdomen.
Ferree said he tried to call Barber twice last night but could not reach him.
When he found out Barber could not play, Ferree hooked up with Billy Casper. But Casper spent Masters week at Augusta, and the pine pollen affected him. His allergies turned into bronchitis, and late last week, Casper called to let Ferree know his doctors would not let him fly.
Ferree then decided just to play on his own.
"Most of our lives, we've played without a partner," Ferree said. "So if you can just divorce yourself and go out there and play the best you can, you might shoot pretty good. You're not watching what your partner does or watching him while he putts. You've got to keep your nose to the grindstone."
Ferree said he is forced to play the par 5s differently when he has no partner. Rather than try to clear the marsh or the water with his driver, which he says he can still do, he lays up.
"If I found the water, there'd be nobody to bail me out," Ferree said. "I'd have to take the big number."
While happy with his rounds, Ferree was disappointed to see so many of his friends who struggle to play anymore.
"I'm lucky," he said. "To feel good and be able to play like I play, I'm lucky."
Playing two groups behind Beard and Ziegler, Colbert and Murphy birdied five holes on the back nine, including Nos. 17 and 18, to reach a playoff.
Murphy hit wedge to within 3 feet from 100 yards away on the first extra hole and converted the birdie opportunity for the win.
Beard and Ziegler also lost in a one-hole playoff a year ago to J.C. Snead and Gibby Gilbert.
"It was great today how we finished by making birdies on seven of the last 11 holes, and that was just to get us into a tie," Colbert said. "Then my pal (Murphy) birdied the first playoff hole to get the win for us."
Beard and Ziegler were the first-round leaders at 8-under 64, two shots ahead of Colbert and Murphy.
"When we started the day I thought we'd need 15 under to win, but Jim walked over and said 'probably 16 under.' Boy, were we close," said Murphy, an 11-time winner on the Champions Tour.
Mike Hill and Lee Trevino finished alone in third, missing the playoff by a stroke.
The pairing of Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, which drew the largest galleries, hands down, shot 6-under 66 for the day -- a three-shot improvement on Monday -- and finished tied for seventh at 9 under.
"We obviously didn't play like we'd like to play," Nicklaus said, "but that's the way the game goes."
For those hoping for an encore performance by the Golden Bear next season, there was a glimmer of hope.
"Gary is a great player and a great friend," Nicklaus said. "I've known him forever, and having the opportunity to play with a great friend makes it special.
"If Gary wants to play next year, we'd probably come back."
LIBERTY MUTUAL LEGENDS OF GOLF
T1. Jim Colbert/Bob Murphy, $120,000 66-63--129
T1. Frank Beard/Larry Ziegler, $68,000 64-65--129
3. Mike Hill/Lee Trevino, $45,000 65-65--130
T4. Don Bies/Tom Shaw, $27,500 66-67--133
T4. Al Geiberger/Jimmy Powell, $27,500 69-64--133
6. Jim Albus/Jim Dent, $21,000 66-68--134
T7. Butch Baird/Lary Laoretti, $19,250 66-69--135
T7. Jack Nicklaus/Gary Player, $19,250 69-66--135
9. Charles Coody/Dale Douglass, $18,500 68-68--136
T10. Bruce Devlin/Larry Mowry, $17,750 68-69--137
T10. Gibby Gilbert/J.C. Snead, $17,750 70-67--137
12. Miller Barber/Jim Ferree, $17,000 71-69--140
13. Don January/Gene Littler, $16,600 70-71--141
14. Tommy Jacobs/Johnny Pott, $16,300 68-74--142
15. Tommy Aaron/Lou Graham, $16,000 71-72--143
16. Homero Blancas/Bobby Nichols, $15,800 74-71--145
17. Jack Fleck/Bob Toski, $15,600 79-74--153
18. Lee Elder/Doug Sanders, $15,400 80-83--163
19. Dow Finsterwald-Bob Goalby, $15,200 82-82--164
20. Doug Ford/Billy Maxwell, $15,000 88-85--173
Wednesday's Pro-Am Tee Times
No. 1 Tee
7 a.m.: Mark James
7:10 a.m.: Wayne Grady
7:20 a.m.: Jay Sigel
7:30 a.m.: Gary Koch
7:40 a.m.: Pete Oakley
7:50 a.m.: Leonard Thompson
8 a.m.: Dave Eichelberger
8:10 a.m.: John Bland
8:20 a.m.: Joe Daley
8:30 a.m.: Bruce Vaughan
8:40 a.m.: Ian Woosnam
8:50 a.m.: Gary Hallberg
9 a.m.: Michael Allen
9:10 a.m.: Jim Gallagher
12 p.m.: Fred Funk
12:10 p.m.: Bob Tway
12:20 p.m.: Bruce Fleisher
12:30 p.m.: Dana Quigley
12:40 p.m.: Don Pooley
12:50 p.m.: Jay Don Blake
1 p.m.: Peter Senior
1:10 p.m.: Mike Goodes
1:20 p.m.: Ed Fiori
1:30 p.m.: Blaine McCallister
1:40 p.m.: Mike Reid
1:50 p.m.: Bobby Wadkins
2 p.m.: John Mahaffey
No. 10 Tee
7 a.m.: Des Smyth
7:10 a.m.: Mark McCumber
7:20 a.m.: Doug Tewell
7:30 a.m.: Roger Maltbie
7:40 a.m.: Denis Watson
7:50 a.m.: Mark Hayes
8 a.m.: Tom Wargo
8:10 a.m.: Graham Marsh
8:20 a.m.: Chien Soon Lu
8:30 a.m.: Roger Chapman
8:40 a.m.: Willie Wood
8:50 a.m.: Andy North
9 a.m.: Russ Cochran
9:10 a.m.: Mark Weibe
12 p.m.: Brad Faxon
12:10 p.m.: Steve Pate
12:20 p.m.: Tom Jenkins
12:30 p.m.: Jim Thorpe
12:40 p.m.: Tom Pernice Jr.
12:50 p.m.: Kirk Triplett
1 p.m.: Ian Baker Finich
1:10 p.m.: Gene Sauers
1:20 p.m.: Bob Eastwood
1:30 p.m.: Keith Fergus
1:40 p.m.: Ken Green
1:50 p.m.: David Eger
2 p.m.: Jerry Heard