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Cook Browne share lead at Pebble Beach Invitational

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PEBBLE BEACH, California – Champions Tour players John Cook and Olin Browne shot 6-under 66s at Del Monte Golf Course to share the first-round lead in the Callaway Golf Pebble Beach Invitational on Thursday.

Cook, coming off a victory on Nov. 1 in the Champions Tour’s season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, had six birdies in his bogey-free round.

“I’m pretty satisfied, considering I haven’t played at all since the Charles Schwab Cup,” said Cook, who won his first PGA Tour event at the Bing Crosby Pro-Am on the Monterey Peninsula in 1981. “I mean I’ve hit a few balls. But I didn’t have any expectations, so I’m pleasantly surprised.”

Browne, who won the Pebble Beach Invitational in 2001, opened with an eagle, shot 31 on the front nine and had four birdies while playing one group ahead of Cook.

“I got off to a nice start and made some nice putts,” said Browne, who joined the Champions Tour in May after a three-win PGA Tour career. “Del Monte is the kind of course where if you hit quality shots, you’ll get lots of birdie chances.”

Jim Thorpe, one of 11 Champions Tour players in the field of 75 pros, shot a 67, also at Del Monte. Matt Bettencourt, 10th this year in the U.S. Open, and Champions Tour veteran Tom Purtzer also shot 67s at Del Monte.

Daniel Chopra, whose last PGA Tour win was the 2008 Mercedes-Benz Championship, and Rickie Fowler, who finished second this year in the Frys.com Open, both carded 68s at Spyglass Hill. D.A. Points had a 68 at Pebble Beach. Four players are grouped at 69.

The event includes players from the four major U.S. professional tours as well as mini-tour, club pros and amateur teams.

Two-time defending champion Tommy Armour III opened with a 71 at Del Monte.

Mina Harigae, who will join the LPGA in 2010, shot a 70 at Pebble Beach, the lowest round among four women pro entrants.

The 72-hole event continues on Friday and Saturday at all three courses. The final round on Sunday, which will include the top 40 pros and ties and top 10 teams, will be held at Pebble Beach. The pro winner will receive $60,000 from the $300,000 purse.