Round 1 Notebook: 3M Championship

August 05, 2011
Dave Senko, Champions Tour staff

Weather: A mix of sun and clouds with highs in the low-80s. Winds were light from the SSE at 5-10 mph.

Current Leaderboard: T1 -- Jay Haas & John Huston/(64/-8); T3 -- Peter Senior, Gary Hallberg, Rod Spittle & Tom Lehman (65/-7); T7 -- Joey Sindelar, David Eger, Kenny Perry & Mark Calcavecchia/(66/-6).


Jay Haas and John Huston grabbed the first-round lead after the pair posted 8-under-par 64s on Friday at the TPC Twin Cities. Haas' round included an ace on No. 4 (5-iron, 180 yards) and four straight birdies to close out his round. Huston had a pair of runs of three consecutive birdies during his round and he closed with consecutive birdies at Nos. 17 and 18. Minnesota native Tom Lehman leads a group of four players tied for third, one stroke behind Haas and Huston.

• Haas made the first hole-in-one of his Champions Tour career when he aced No. 4. Haas used a 5-iron on the 180-yard hole. It was the ninth in tournament history. Haas also had a pair when he competed on the PGA TOUR. The first was at the 1983 Houston Open and the other came in 1993 at the Las Vegas Invitational.

• It was a nice homecoming for Minnesota's Tom Lehman. The native of Austin and a former Minnesota Golden Gopher, fired a 7-under-par 65 in his first competitive round on the course he served as a course architect along with designer Arnold Palmer. Lehman leads the Champions Tour in earnings ($1,346,276) and also sits atop the Charles Schwab Cup leaderboard with 1,533 points.

• The field averaged 70.087 more than a half stroke lower than last year's opening round average of 70.603. There were 38 rounds in the 60s, seven more than in 2011 and 53 of 80 players in the field finished below par.

Fred Couples returned to action on the Champions Tour for the first time in three months and he opened with a 3-under-par 69 and is T28.

• Defending champion David Frost fired a 1-under-par 71 and is T46 as is Olin Browne, the winner of last week's U.S. Senior Open.

Brad Faxon's debut on the Champions Tour was a 4-under-par 68. Also making his first start on the Tour was Nationwide Tour veteran Ben Bates. He opened with an even-par 72.

• Several players continued their stellar play from last week's U.S. Senior Open. Peter Senior, who was sixth last week, fired a 7-under-par 65 and is T3, while Mark Calcavecchia shot a 6-under-par 66 and is T7. He was solo third last week. Hale Irwin and Joey Sindelar were T4 at Inverness a week ago and each played well on Friday. Sindelar fashioned a 66 and Irwin a 67.

• Kenny Perry returned to the Champions Tour after nearly a two-month hiatus to the PGA TOUR and fired a 6-under-par 66.

• Rod Spittle, Tom Lehman, Steve Pate, Mark O'Meara and Nick Price all posted bogey-free rounds.

• David Eger, Steve Pate and Kenny Perry birdied all four of the course's par-5 holes on Friday.

• Joey Sindelar and Tom Lehman, who finished 1-2 when the Big Ten Conference Men's Golf Championship was held at the University of Minneapolis in 1981, each hit all 18 Greens in Regulation on Friday.

• For the eighth consecutive year, the Greats of Golf Challenge will be part of the 3M Championship schedule. Play in the two-man team, 36-hole, better-ball exhibition begin on Saturday. The competitors include World Golf Hall of Famers Arnold Palmer, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Gene Littler, Lee Trevino, and Billy Casper, as well as 1971 Masters champion Charles Coody, 1970 and 1976 PGA Championship winner Dave Stockton, 1966 PGA Championship winner Al ("Mr. 59") Geiberger, two-time major winner David Graham and two-time U.S. Open champion Andy North. In addition, Miller Barber and Don January, both major championship winners on the Champions Tour, will participate once again.