Gary McCord, who finished second here to Irwin in 2002, carded a 4-under- par 68. He stands in a tie for fifth place with Bob Gilder, Jim Thorpe, Wayne Levi and MasterCard Championship winner Dana Quigley.
This event was not played in 2004 as it shifted from a late-fall event to an early season event.
Irwin has won this title four straight times from 2000-03. His experience on the Palmer Course at Turtle Bay Resort showed right away. He drained a 10-foot birdie putt at the first and came right back to convert a 25-footer for birdie at No. 2.
The all-time wins leader on the Champions Tour made it three straight to open his round as he two-putted for birdie at the par-5 third. Irwin followed with a 12-foot birdie putt at the fourth.
After missing a 10-footer for birdie at five, Irwin sank a 4-footer for birdie at six to move to 5 under through six holes. Any thoughts of challenging the course record of 61 died as Irwin posted eight straight pars around the turn.
Irwin then faltered to a three-putt bogey at the 15th. He closed with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 18th to grab a share of the lead.
'The start was essentially my day,' Irwin said. 'After the birdie at No. 6, it was like someone turned the tap off. I anticipated going low after that start, but it just didn't pan out.'
Doyle got his round going with a two-putt birdie at the third. He dropped in a 15-footer for birdie at six before an up-and-down birdie at the ninth. The 2004 Bayer Advantage Celebrity Pro-Am winner picked up another two-putt birdie at No. 12. Doyle then converted an 8-foot birdie putt at the 14th before parring the final four holes.
'I hit the ball good today,' said Doyle. 'I missed a couple of fairways. I thought scores might have been a bit lower today, but if you're tied for the lead you've got to be happy.'
Morgan had a steady round. He picked up one birdie over the first 11 holes. He then drained an eagle at the par-5 12th and birdied the 14th to move to minus-4. Morgan closed his bogey-free round with a birdie at the last.
Fergus had the most interesting round by far. He eagled the third, but tripped to a double-bogey at the fourth. He then dropped in back-to-back birdies from the fifth, then stumbled to a bogey at seven.
The 50-year-old Fergus came right back to birdie eight, but stumbled to another bogey at the ninth. He then birdied three of four holes from the 11th to move to 4 under. Like Morgan and Irwin, Fergus birdied the last for a share of the lead.
'That was plenty of action on the front side,' Fergus joked. 'I played solid on the back nine. I putted well today but just had a couple of errant irons.'
Gary Player matched his age on Friday, the fourth time he has done so on the Champions Tour, as he shot a 3-under-par 69. He was joined in a tie for 10th place by Hugh Baiocchi, Rodger Davis, R.W. Eaks, David Eger, Morris Hatalsky, Mike Reid, Bobby Wadkins, Bruce Lietzke, Dick Mast, Larry Nelson and 1998 champion Jay Sigel.