Dec 13 (Reuters) - Kenny Perry and Sean O'Hair got off to a strong start in defense of their Franklin Templeton Shootout title by combining for a 64 in a modified alternate-shot format to share the lead on Friday in Naples, Florida.
Joining Champions Tour Player of the Year Perry and O'Hair at eight under par in the charity event at Tiburon Golf Club were the teams of Matt Kuchar-Harris English and Charles Howell III-Justin Leonard.
Perry and O'Hair were three under par over the front nine before running off four birdies in a row from the 13th in a format where both players hit drives and then select the best one and alternate shots the rest of the hole.
Howell and Leonard were level par before posting birdies on the last three holes on the outward nine and also went five-under on the back nine.
Kuchar and English combined to eagle the 17th hole as they surged into a share of the lead.
The 12 teams in the event will play better ball on Saturday and finish with a scramble on Sunday.
The leading three teams were three strokes clear of Retief Goosen of South Africa and Swede Fredik Jacobson, who shot a 67.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York, Editing by Gene Cherry)