Funk Allen Blake grab lead in South Korea


Champions Tour

INCHEON, South Korea – Fred Funk, Michael Allen and Jay Don Blake shared the lead Friday after the rain-delayed opening round of the Champions Tour’s first tournament in Asia.

All three Americans shot 3-under 69s after the start of the tournament was delayed by 1 hour, 39 minutes due to rain and wet conditions. The course had received more than two inches (five centimeters) of rain from early in the evening Thursday.

“Conditions were remarkably good with all the rain,” said Funk, who won the U.S. Senior Open in 2009.

Organizers brought in a two-tee start – in which some players start on the front nine and others on the back nine – to make up for lost time Friday.

“(The) course was soft and you could really go at the pins today,” said Allen, who chipped in from 25 feet for a birdie on the par-4 10th hole.

John Cook and Sandy Lyle were one shot behind with 2-under 70s. D.A. Weibring stood 1-under at 70, while a quartet of players – Nam-Sin Park, Naomichi Ozaki, Olin Browne and Denis Watson – shot even par 72s.

Champions Tour money leader Bernhard Langer shot a 1-over 73. The two-time Masters champion from Germany was four shots behind in a tie with 11 others. Tom Watson, the runner-up in the British Open last year, shot a 3-over 75.

The 54-hole Posco E&C Songdo Championship is being played on the 7,087-yard course at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in the port city of Incheon. Nicklaus designed the course.

The event has a record Champions Tour purse of $3 million. The winner will take home $450,000.