Dougherty, 54, shot 4-under-par 68 at the Tiffany Greens Golf Club to earn a share of the lead after 18 holes. He is tied with Bob Eastwood and John Schroeder.
Eight players are tied for fourth place, one off the lead. Hale Irwin, Bruce Fleisher, Walter Hall, Bruce Lietzke, Larry Nelson, Tom Purtzer, Jay Sigel and J.C. Snead all shot 3-under 69s.
Last year, Dougherty opened in 10-under 62 and cruised to a tournament record 22-under-par total, and an eight-stroke victory. This years first round wasnt as dramatic, but it was nonetheless effective on a day when only 24 players broke par; he recorded six birdies and two bogeys.
Of the leaders, John Schroeder produced the most consistent round, making five birdies to just one dropped shot. Eastwood notched an eagle at the par-5 ninth to go along with five birdies, but also made three bogeys.
Full-field scores from the TD Waterhouse Championship