Andrade shoots 65, grabs share of Champions lead

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 22, 2014 at 7:12 pm •  Published: March 22, 2014
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SAUCIER, Miss. (AP) — Billy Andrade hasn't played much competitive golf over the past four years. It was hard to tell on Saturday.

The 50-year-old Andrade had the low round of the day, firing a 7-under 65 to jump into a tie for the lead with Fred Funk after the second round of the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic at Fallen Oak.

Andrade made nine birdies on Saturday, including a stretch of six over seven holes midway through the round. The exclamation point came on the final hole, when he drained a 20-foot putt for birdie.

It's the second time in less than a year that Andrade has been in contention to win a tournament in the Magnolia State. He finished fifth at the Sanderson Farms Classic in Madison, Miss., last summer, which was easily his best finish in three starts on the PGA Tour last year.

"I have no idea what it is about Mississippi," Andrade said laughing. "But right now, I absolutely love it."

Andrade is playing in just his fourth Champions Tour event. His best finish was eighth place at the ACE Group Classic in February.

Fred Couples started the day with a two-stroke lead, but fell into a tie for second place after shooting a 71. Jay Haas and Jeff Maggert both had 69 to join Couples one stroke behind the leaders.

Andrade has been mostly on the sidelines the past four years, working part time as an analyst for the Golf Channel. He's started just eight tournaments on the PGA Tour since 2010 and said it's been nice to play several events in a row on the Champions Tour since he turned 50 to regain some consistency.

"It was kind of a swirly, windy day," Andrade said. "We didn't know if the wind was helping us or hurting us on some holes. But I got off to a nice start with a birdie on the first hole and then got into a nice rhythm."

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