Rodger Davis, the 2003 Toshiba Senior Classic winner, posted a 7-under-par 65 to take second place. Joe Inman and Eduardo Romero share third place at 5-under-par 67 at Hayfields Country Club.
Levi nearly holed his third shot to the par-5 second, but it came to a rest within inches of the cup. He kicked in that birdie, then rolled in a 15-footer for birdie at fourth.
The 52-year-old stuck a 6-iron within one foot of the cup at the sixth and tapped in to get the 3 under. Levi came right back with a 12-foot birdie putt at the seventh to make it three in a row.
Levi, whose lone Champions Tour win came at the 2003 3M Championship, parred his next four holes around the turn. He then sank a 4-foot birdie putt at 12 and then converted a 5-footer at the 13th to move to 6 under.
The Little Falls, New York native two-putted for birdie on the par-5 16th and came right back with a 7-foot birdie try at the 17th. He parred the last to match the course record set by J.C. Snead in 2002.
'I have been playing well the last few weeks. I just haven't gotten everything I could out of my game,' Levi said. 'The course was in great shape despite all the rain it had.'
Davis had a similar start to Levi, as he pitched his third within a foot of the cup to setup birdie at the second. After a three-putt bogey at the fourth, he two-putted for birdie at the par-5 fifth.
The Australian dropped in a 5-footer for birdie at the par-3 eighth. Around the turn, David rolled in a birdie at the 10th. He dropped in back-to-back birdies from the 13th and again from the 17th to climb in to second place.
'I have had back trouble all year and it started to bother me with about three holes to go in Wednesday's pro-am,' Davis said. 'I've had to withdrawal from three events because of back spasms. It's hard to swing with those spasms.'
Tom Watson, who will have hip surgery next week, opened with a 4-under-par 68. He shares fifth place with Bob Gilder, Walter Hall, Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Bruce Lietzke, Jose Maria Canizares, Graham Marsh, Mark McNulty, Gil Morgan and Des Smyth.
Larry Nelson, the defending champion, opened with a 2-over-par 74. He is well off the pace in a tie for 68th and is joined there by former major league pitcher Rick Rhoden.