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Four Tied for Lead in Regions Tradition
Jay Haas, Mark Calcavecchia, Chien Soon Lu and Olin Browne each carded 3-under 69s to share the opening-round lead in the Regions Tradition. The $2.2 million event, the Champions Tour's first major of the year, began Thursday at Shoal Creek near Birmingham, Ala.
Haas, a 16-time winner on the over-50 circuit, posted six birdies and three bogeys. Haas is seeking his first triumph since the 2012 Principal Charity Classic.
The 53-year-old Calcavecchia, a two-time winner on the Champions Tour who hasn't tasted victory since the 2012 Montreal Championship, had four birdies and a bogey, while Lu, a 54-year-old from Taiwan, had five birdies and a pair of bogeys.
Browne had a spotless card with three birdies and 15 pars. The 54-year-old from Washington, D.C. has one Champions Tour on his resume, and that is a major - the U.S. Senior Open in 2011.
Haas told reporters on the eve of the Tradition that his game has been rounding into shape. With six top-five finishes in seven starts, Haas said he's been "hitting good irons, putting pretty well and it's exciting to be coming into this tournament playing well."
Because of overnight rains, the players got to play lift, clean and place. "There was no roll in the fairways," Calcavecchia said. "We had to play lift and place. The ball was just caked with mud every time you picked it up in the fairway. The wind was very tricky."
Haas seconded Calcavecchia's view about the winds. "The winds were very tricky," the 60-year-old said. "I kind of had a handle on it, I thought, on the front nine. And then by the time we got to about 13, 14, 15, I had no idea which way the wind was blowing.
"With all the trees and the valley and everything, you get a lot of swirling winds and you just have to be extra careful and think it out and then hit the shot that you're planning to hit, which I did most of the time."
Sharing fifth after carding 70s are Corey Pavin, Steve Elkington and Willie Wood. Two strokes behind the leaders are Marco Dawson, Bill Glasson, John Cook, Scott Dunlap, Fred Funk and John Riegger.
Among those opening with even-par 72s is defending champion David Frost. Reigning Charles Schwab Cup champion Kenny Perry also shot 72.
Two pre-tournament favorites, Bernhard Langer and Fred Couples, each started off with 74s. Langer, already a two-time winner this season, enjoys a big lead in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup points' race.
For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/champions/leaderboard.html.