Defending champion Jay Don Blake birdied three of the final four holes for a 6-under-par 64 and the first-round lead in the Champions Tour’s season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The winner last year at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, the 54-year-old Blake had a one-stroke lead over Gary Hallberg.
Seattle native Fred Couples, Jay Haas, Olin Browne and Bill Glasson shot 66 on Desert Mountain’s Cochise Course. Couples is playing for the first time since a back injury forced him to withdraw from the Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge after his opening drive in late August.
Schwab Cup points leader Bernhard Langer birdied the final two holes for a 69, Tom Lehman shot a 68, and Roger Chapman had a 69.
Langer has a 211-point lead over Lehman and a 657-point advantage over Chapman in the race for the $1 million annuity.
Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott took advantage of the par 5s at Mission Hills and each had a 7-under 65 to lead the HSBC Champions after the first round in Shenzhen, China. Oosthuizen birdied all five par 5s, and Scott made four birdies and an eagle. Two-time HSBC Champions winner Phil Mickelson was a stroke back along with Masters champion Bubba Watson, Shane Lowry and Peter Hanson. … One week after turning 14, Guan Tianlang of China had eight birdies for a 6-under 66 to build a two-shot lead over New Zealand’s Daniel Pearce after the opening round of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Bangkok. Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, trying to win for the third straight year, was tied for 10th after opening with a 71. The winner earns an exemption to the Masters and a spot in the final stage of qualifying for the British Open.