Lucky Seven in Las Vegas


Michelin Championship at Las VegasLAS VEGAS -- Scott Verplank shot an 8-under-par 64 Thursday to grab a share of the lead at the Michelin Championship in Las Vegas.
This year's event was reduced from a 90-hole format to a 72-hole format, but there are still three courses in rotation this week. Verplank, who played the TPC at Summerlin, was joined atop the leaderboard by Billy Mayfair, Steve Lowery, Harrison Frazar and Kent Jones. Danny Ellis and Jason Bohn posted rounds of 63 at TPC at The Canyons, a par-71 layout, to join the logjam in first.
Verplank started on the back side and ran off four birdies over his first nine holes. He moved to 5 under with a birdie at the par-4 first and added a birdie at the par-5 fifth to climb to minus-6.
The 40-year-old faltered with a bogey at the fourth but recovered with back-to-back birdies starting at the par-4 sixth. Verplank then birdied the par-5 ninth for a piece of the lead.
Jones played the Bear's Best course, the third course in the rotation, and jumped out of the gate with two straight birdies from the par-5 second. Jones then birdied the par-4 sixth but found trouble with a bogey at the par-4 ninth.
He came back with a birdie at the very next hole and began his climb up the leaderboard with an eagle at the par-5 12th. Jones then birdied the 13th and added a pair of birdies over his last three holes to complete his round.
Lowery and Mayfair also played Bear's Best to finish among the leaders while Frazar carded his 64 at the TPC at Summerlin.
Ellis started on the 10th tee at TPC at The Canyons and hit his approach to 6 feet for a birdie at the par-4 11th. He then birdied the 14th and knocked his second inside 5 feet for a birdie at the 18th.
The 34-year-old drained a 20-footer for a birdie at the par-3 second and ran off four consecutive birdies starting at the par-5 fourth en route to a bogey-free round.
'I hit the ball really well,' said Ellis, who has missed each of his last three cuts. 'The greens were perfect. It was nice.'
Bohn mixed nine birdies with a bogey for his share of first.
Justin Leonard shot a 7-under 65 at the TPC at Summerlin to finish alongside Tom Lehman, Brett Quigley, Danny Briggs and Robin Freeman.
'I did not get off to a good start,' said Leonard. 'The greens are pretty receptive. This is a good risk-reward golf course. If you do miss some shots, the penalty can be pretty severe.'
Jesper Parnevik, Alex Cejka, Tom Byrum, Duffy Waldorf, Tim Petrovic, Tom Pernice, Jr., Richard S. Johnson, Scott McCarron, Jonathan Kaye, Craig Barlow, Dicky Pride, Brett Geiberger, Jason Dufner, Jose Coceres, J.P. Hayes and Geoff Ogilvy shared 13th place at 6 under par.
David Duval was one shot further back in a group at minus-5. Phil Mickelson followed after posting a round of 4-under-par 68 at Bear's Best.
Defending champion Stuart Appleby managed a round of 2-under-par 69 at TPC at The Canyons to finish six shots off the pace.
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