Tom Wargo, whose last tour win came in 2000, is alone in second place at minus-3. Jay Haas, the 2006 Player of the Year, carded a 2-under-par 69 Friday. He shares third place with Wayne Levi and John Harris.
There were few low scores in the opening round due to the conditions. Temperatures barely got into the 50s and steady breezes made it seem even colder than that.
Eger got off to a fast start at the TPC of Tampa Bay. He drained 6-foot birdie putts on each of the first two holes. After three straight pars, Eger stumbled to a bogey on the par-3 sixth.
The 54-year-old bounced right back with a birdie on seven. However, Eger faltered to another bogey on the ninth after a poor drive to turn in minus-1.
Eger, a two-time winner on the Champions Tour, took advantage of the two par- 5s on the back nine. He birdied 12 and 14, both par-5s, to get to minus-3. Eger carded his final birdie, from 16 feet out, at the par-3 17th.
'The score is great. I wasn't very happy with the way I have hit the ball off the tee,' Eger stated. 'I hit some very good irons, but I didn't hit a lot of good tee shots. I seemed to hit the ball from 4 to 8 feet a lot for birdies all day.'
Wargo was in the first group out on the course Friday morning. He collected his first birdie at the par-3 third. Wargo gave that stroke back as he tripped to a three-putt bogey on five.
The 62-year-old turned in minus-2 thanks to birdies on seven and nine, where he chipped in for birdie.
Wargo picked up his next birdie from 15 feet out at 13. He struggled to a bogey on 15, but atoned for that mistake with a birdie at the next. Wargo parred the final two to end one back.
'You know when you're playing in this kind of weather and wind, you're going to have to get it up-and-down,' said Wargo of the chilly, breezy conditions. 'You're going to miss some greens, so you're going to have to rely on the short game, in nasty weather, that's the game that you look forward to, to bail you out all the time.'
Curtis Strange, Tom Watson and Loren Roberts were the final three players in red figures at 1-under-par 70. Tom Jenkins, Mark Johnson, Andy Bean, Ben Crenshaw, Bruce Fleisher and Bob Gilder share ninth place at even-par 71.
Mark O'Meara, who is making his Champions Tour debut this week, opened with a 3-over-par 74. He stands in a tie for 29th place with several players including Nick Price, who made his tour debut last week.