Mason Grabs Overnight Lead

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KA'UPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii -- James Mason fired a 7-under-par 65 Friday to take the overnight lead at the weather-delayed MasterCard Championship.
 
Lightning forced players off the course for one-hour, 36-minutes during the first round, pushing the completion of play until Saturday. The 12 players remaining on the course will resume their first round at 8:00 AM local time, with the second round commencing after the first round is completed.
 
Mason has plenty of company near the top of the leaderboard at Hualalai Golf Club as Jim Thorpe, Dave Eichelberger, Stewart Ginn and Jay Sigel all posted rounds of 6-under-par 66. Joining that quartet is Doug Tewell, who stands at minus 6 through 13 holes.
 
Mason was steady throughout his bogey-free round. He opened by draining a birdie at the par-4 first and came back with his second birdie at the par-5 fourth.
 
The 53-year-old took advantage of the next par-5, No. 7, as he birdied that to move to 3 under. Around the turn, it was more of the same as he drained his fourth birdie of the day at the par-5 10th.
 
He made it four-for-four on the par 5s as he birdied the 14th. Mason capped off his round in fine fashion with back-to-back birdies from the 17th to take the overnight lead.
 
'I drove it good and just played a solid round,' said Mason, whose lone Champions Tour victory came at the 2002 NFL Golf Classic. 'It could've a little lower and it could've been a whole lot higher. And I played bogey free, which doesn't happen much for me,'
 
Ginn got off to a hot start with four birdies on the front nine, including birdies on three of the final four holes on his opening nine. He also birdied the 10th and 12th before closing with six straight pars.
 
'No bogeys was the key to the round,' Ginn said. 'The wind switched when I got to the 10th hole. I haven't played this wind before. I'm patient with this course and I guess that's the key.'
 
Eichelberger birdied the second and fourth to get off to a quick start. However, he bogeyed the fifth before rebounding with consecutive birdies from the sixth. He dropped another shot at the ninth, but responded with an eagle on No. 10. He posted another bogey before carding three more birdies on his way to the house.
 
Sigel, who had surgery on both shoulders between the 2000 and 2001 seasons, birdied Nos. 3 and 4, but stumbled to a bogey at the fifth. He came back to birdie the sixth and made two straight birdies from the ninth. He closed with birdies on the back nine par-3, Nos. 12 and 17, for his share of second.
 
Thorpe, who won the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship last year, had two bogeys and three birdies on his opening nine. On the back side, he bogeyed the 11th, but wrapped birdies at the 10th and 12th around the mistake. He eagled the par-5 14th, before closing with birdies at the 16th and 18th.
 
Tewell is working on a bogey-free round of his own. He birdied the first and moved to 3 under with an eagle at the fourth. He closed his front nine with birdies at the seventh and nine, before birdieing No. 11. He parred the next two holes before play was called for the night.
 
Dave Barr, Tom Jenkins and Tom Purtzer share seventh place at 5-under-par 67. J.C. Snead is one behind that trio after a 4-under-par 68. Three other players are also at minus 4, Gil Morgan through 15 holes, as well as Craig Stadler and Fuzzy Zoeller, who are both through 13 holes.
 
Sammy Rachels, who missed a large portion of the 2003 schedule after he was injured in a motorcycle accident, opened with a 2-under-par 70. Dana Quigley, the defending champion is also at 2 under, but he has completed just 13 holes.
 
Hubert Green, who returns to the tour for the first time since late June, carded a 1-under-par 71. He missed the remainder of last season as he battled cancer in his throat.
 
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