Tom Lehman, a two-time winner on the Champions Tour in 2011 and the current Charles Schwab Cup leader, opened the Regions Tradition on Thursday with a bogey-free 5-under-par 67 to grab the opening-round lead. Mark Calcavecchia, Wayne Levi, Nick Price and Chien-soon Lu are among four players tied for second place, one stroke behind Lehman.
Lehman was one of just three players to post a bogey-free round on Thursday. He was joined by Michael Allen and Ted Schulz.
Russ Cochran withdrew prior to the start of the round with a hand injury. Bobby Clampett took his spot in the 78-man field.
Tom Lehman has never held sole possession of the lead after the opening round on the Champions Tour, but he did share the first-round lead in this event last year in Oregon when he and D.A. Weibring fired rounds of 5-under-par 67.
Tom Lehman did not play in either the 1984 or the 1990 PGA Championship when it was staged here.
The player who led or shared the first-round lead has gone on to win this event just six times in the previous 22 years. Mark McNulty was the last to do so after sharing the lead in 2007 with Mike Reid.
Mark Calcavecchia and hs wife, Brenda, celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary on Thursday. He shot a 4-under-par 68 on Thursday and is currently T2.
Olin Browne's string of sub-par rounds ended at 15 on Thursday when he finished with a 2-over-par 74. Browne's streak was the longest current streak on the Champions Tour.
Wayne Levi's opening-round 4-under-par 68 was his best opening round since he shot a 67 last September at the Home Care & Hospice First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. Levi and his partner Keith Fergus finished T3 in their most recent start at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.
The field averaged 74.179, the highest average for a single round in 2011 and the highest in this tournament since 2000 when the field averaged 75.595 on the Cochise Course at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale.
Hole No. 4 played as the most difficult with an average score of 4.397 (+.397). The only three players to make a birdie were Tom Lehman, Nick Price and J.L. Lewis. No. 2 ranked second and No. 12 was third overall. The easiest hole was No. 3 with an average score of 4.705 (-.295).
Mark Wiebe's consecutive streak of holes without a three putt ended at 159 when he three-putted No. 14.
David Frost had one of the day's best finishes. Frost was 2-over-par with five holes remaining but birdied four of the final five holes to finish with a 2-under-par 68 which leaves him T7.
When the PGA Championship was staged here in 1984 the first-round leaders were Raymond Floyd, Lanny Wadkins and Mike Reid at 4-under-par 68. Six years later, Bobby Wadkins was in sole possession of first place after a 4-under-par 68.
Bob Gilder made his 176thconsecutive start for which he is eligible.
Jim Thorpe hit all 14 fairways today to lead all players in that category.
Defending champion Fred Funk is currently T42.
Morris Hatalsky and Mark Calcavecchia each had 12 one-putts in the opening round.
Copyright 2011 WBRC. All rights reserved.