SUNRIVER, Ore – D.A. Weibring and Tom Lehman shot 5-under-par 67s to share the lead after Thursday’s first round of The Tradition – the fourth major of the Champions Tour season.
Weibring made birdies at Nos. 17 and 18 to take the lead. His best finish on the Champions Tour this season is a tie for fifth, but made a bid to improve that by sinking four of his six birdie attempts on the front nine, including a stretch of three in a row.
Lehman, playing in the final group of the day, also finished strongly, rolling in a 20-foot birdie putt at 18 to grab a share of the lead.
Nearly one-third of the 66-man field at the Crosswater Club is within two strokes of the lead.
Five players shot 68. Among that group is Corey Pavin, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, who made an eagle at the par-4 10th by holing a 163-yard 8-iron.
Also at 68 is 2008 Tradition champion Fred Funk, Bob Gilder, Fulton Allem and Gil Morgan. The unlikeliest of that group is Allem, who is ranked 91st in Champions Tour earnings this season.
Bernhard Langer, the tour’s season earnings and Charles Schwab Cup leader, is among 13 players at 69.
Langer, who is aiming to become the second player in Champions Tour history to win three consecutive majors, made three birdies on the back nine to overcome an even-par front side.
Langer comes into the Tradition having won the Senior British Open and U.S. Senior Open during the past month.
Others at 69 include Hale Irwin, Mark Calcavecchia, Loren Roberts and Bobby Clampett.
Heading a group of five players at 70 is Andy Bean and Bob Tway. Tom Watson and Nick Price were among 11 players to shoot 71.
Defending Tradition champion Mike Reid had an awful day, shooting a 7-over 79. Only one player scored worse, Phil Blackmar with an 81.
Two prominent players missing from the field are Fred Couples and Paul Azinger. Couples, ranked second in the Schwab Cup standings, opted to play in this week’s PGA Tour event, the Wyndham Championship. Azinger was disqualified after failing to show for Tuesday’s pro-am.