KAUPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii – Tom Lehman and Bruce Vaughan shot 7-under 65 on Friday to share the first-round lead in the Champions Tour’s season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship.
Lehman, the player of the year last season on the 50-and-over tour, birdied the final hole at Hualalai Resort to match Vaughan at the top of the leaderboard.
Brad Faxon, Loren Roberts, Corey Pavin and Jay Haas were a stroke back.
Defending champion John Cook opened with a 69, and Fred Couples had a 72.
All but five of the 41 players shot par or better on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course, the easiest layout on the tour eight of the last nine years.
Lehman had five birdies and an eagle, playing the par-5 holes in 5 under.
A three-time winner last season, Lehman became the first player to be honored as the player of the year on all three PGA Tour-sanctioned tours. He won the Nationwide award in 1991 and the PGA Tour honor in 1996.
Vaughan played in the third group, missing the wind that picked up to 15 mph in the afternoon. His only bogey came on the 16th hole, but he rallied with birdies on the final two holes for his lowest score on the Champions Tour by two shots. Vaughan has limited exempt status this year and got into the tournament because of his victory in the 2008 Senior British Open.
Roberts won the 2006 event, setting the tour’s scoring record at 25 under. He has 19 straight sub-par rounds at Hualalai.
Dan Forsman and Michael Allen were two strokes back at 67, and Bernhard Langer, Gary Hallberg, Mark McNulty, John Huston, Russ Cochran and Jeff Sluman followed at 68.
Huston played the final four holes in 3 over. He and Faxon are making their first starts in the event, which is open to champions from the last two years and major champions from the last five. Eight more players, including Pavin, received sponsor exemptions.