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Nelson Shoots Age for Share of Lead on Champions Tour


Larry Nelson shot his age, 66, to tie for the opening-round lead in the SAS Championship. The $2.1 million, 54-hole Champions Tour event is being held at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, N.C.

Nelson, a 10-time winner on the PGA Tour and a three-time major champion, carded six birdies on the front nine to make the turn in 6-under 29, then added another birdie against his only bogey of the day for an even-par 37 on the back.

He ended Friday tied for the lead with Russ Cochran and Mark Mouland. "I hit the ball really well, so I was really, really pleased," said Nelson, whose last victory on the Champions Tour came in 2004. "For the most part, I hit it close to the hole. I shot 29 on the front side and missed it inside of 8 feet twice.

"So you shoot 29, you know that things are happening because it wasn't a fluke. I didn't hole out any 7-irons, I just hit the ball close."

Defending champion Bernhard Langer was among several players - including Kirk Triplett, Mike Goodes, Michael Allen and David Frost - shooting 67. Triplett won the previous event on the over-50 circuit, the First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, two weeks ago.

The other big news Friday was the withdrawal by Nick Faldo, who was playing in his first regular Champions Tour event. The six-time major champion, who's been away from regular competitive golf while serving as the lead golf analyst on CBS, pulled out due to an elbow injury.

He exacerbated a torn capsule in his left elbow when he made a gesture during a putt on the sixth hole. He withdrew before starting the 13th hole, shaking hands with playing partners Kenny Perry and Tom Kite and walking off the course.

"I really wanted to play. I was all geared up," said Faldo. "I want to play good golf, but I can't play with one arm."

For updated scoring, visit http://www.pgatour.com/champions/leaderboard.html.