Nelson carded seven birdies and one bogey en route to his 18th consecutive sub-par round on the Senior PGA Tour. Nelson is coming off his third victory of the season at last week's FleetBoston Classic. With Hale Irwin and Bruce Fleisher absent this week, a fifth-place finish or better will move Nelson into second place on the 2000 money list.
Lanny Wadkins, Ed Dougherty and Frank Conner are the trio tied for second. Wadkins and Dougherty are each seeking their second victories this season, while Conner is in search of his first career Senior triumph.
Last year's runner-up Jim Thorpe is in a 7-way tie for fifth place. At 3-under-par, Thorpe shares his position with Gary Player and Allen Doyle.
Defending champion Christy O'Connor, Jr. is mired in a tie for 39th after opening in 1-over-par 73.