Summerhays Leads Simpson Impressive in Debut

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2005 SAS ChampionshipCARY, N.C. -- Bruce Summerhays posted a 6-under-par 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead of the SAS Championship at Prestonwood Country Club.
 
R.W. Eaks is alone in second place at 5-under-par 67.
 
Former U.S. Open winner Scott Simpson made an impressive debut on the Champions Tour Friday. He carded a 4-under-par 68 and is tied for third place with the winner of the Constellation Energy Classic, Bob Gilder.
 
'I'm very happy with my day,' said Simpson, who won the U.S. Open in 1987. 'I was a little nervous starting out, but I made some good putts early, which was good.'
 
Summerhays started out slowly with seven consecutive pars, including a tough 12-footer at the par-5 seventh. He broke into red figures with a birdie at the par-3 eighth when he hit an 8-iron to 6 feet. Summerhays made it back-to-back birdies as he rolled in a 5-footer at nine to make the turn at 2-under 33.
 
He cashed in on his third birdie in a row at 11 when he knocked a pitching- wedge to 7 feet. Summerhays parred the 169-yard 11th, but drained a 5-footer for birdie at 12. He hit a 9-iron to 10 feet to set up birdie at 13 to reach 5 under par for the championship.
 
Summerhays stumbled a bit at the 16th and dropped a shot, but the three-time Champions Tour winner rebounded. He two-putted the 17th green for a birdie at the par-5 hole, then sank a 5-footer for birdie at 18 to grab sole possession of the first-round lead for the first time in five years.
 
'The day started out kind of bland, then I made a couple of good par putts early and got things going,' said Summerhays. 'You always feel good when you play like this. I'm going to have to put up some similar numbers the next two days.'
 
Eaks had a tough start with a pair of birdies and a pair of bogeys on the front side. He lipped out two par putts from inside 3 feet, but rolled in two from inside 10 feet. Eaks was just waiting for the back nine to make his move up the leaderboard.
 
He hit a 6-iron to 8 feet to set up birdie at 11, then ran home a 6-footer for birdie at 13. Eaks collected his second birdie in a row at 14, this time, from 25 feet out.
 
At the 16th, Eaks hit a gap-wedge to 4 feet for an easy birdie. He reached the green with a 5-iron second shot at No. 17, and two-putted for birdie and second place.
 
'I had a wonderful round on the back nine today,' said Eaks. 'It's been a little bit of a struggle this year. The last two events have not been two of my better ones.'
 
Hale Irwin, Bobby Wadkins, Lonnie Nielsen, Danny Edwards and Bruce Lietzke are knotted in fifth place at 3-under-par 69.
 
Walter Hall, Gil Morgan, Bruce Fleisher, Tom Jenkins, Rodger Davis, James Mason, Joe Inman and Gary McCord are tied for 10th place after opening with rounds of 2-under-par 70.
 
Defending champion Craig Stadler opened with a 1-under 71 and is tied for 18th place.
 
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