Champions Tour rookies share San Antonio lead


Champions Tour

SAN ANTONIO ' Champions Tour rookies Keith Clearwater and Russ Cochran and shot 5-under 66s on Friday to share the first-round lead in the AT&T Championship, the final full-field event of the season.

Tom Kite, looking for his first home-state win as a professional, was a stroke back along with fellow Texan Ben Crenshaw , Mark O'Meara and Andy Bean .

Clearwater, who won his two PGA Tour titles in 1987, is making his fifth Champions Tour start after turning 50 in August. He eagled the par-15th hole and had five birdies and two bogeys on the Oak Hills Country Club course.

I feel like my game is great, but I need a few more times to play, Clearwater said. My putting is non-competitive right now, but it's just a matter of playing and getting my instincts back. I still think I'm better than most people think. I still think I'm as good as anybody and I working hard to prove it.

Cochran, the left-hander who won the 1991 Western Open for his lone PGA Tour title, had six birdies and a bogey. He was third in the U.S. Senior Open and has three top-5 finishes in 14 events this season.

Kite, from Austin, birdied Nos. 14-17 to move up the leaderboard.

You always want to play well near your friends, he said.

Two-time defending champion John Cook opened with a 68.

I've been comfortable here, Cook said. It's just a course that fits my eye.

Jay Haas , Bob Tway , David Eger , Mike Goodes , Scott Simpson , Craig Stadler , Mike Reid and Tim Simpson also shot 68s. Haas won the 2005 event and took the PGA Tour's Texas Open in 1982 and 1993 at A.W. Tillinghast-designed Oak Hills.

The top 30 on the money list after the event will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship next week in Sonoma, Calif.