BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) – Corey Pavin shot an 8-under 64 on Friday to take a two-shot lead over Fred Funk, Bernhard Langer and Peter Senior after the first round of the Allianz Championship.
Pavin, winless in 34 career starts in the Champions Tour, had six birdies in a seven-hole stretch to shoot a back-nine 29 at Broken Sound Golf Club.
He won 15 times on the PGA Tour, including the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, and set the nine-hole scoring record of 8-under 26 in the 2006 U.S. Bank Championship at Brown Deer Park.
“I don't usually shoot a lot of low scores, so it's kind of strange,'' Pavin said. “When I get in those situations, I really try to focus without thinking of too much of what I'm doing. When you start thinking about how many birdies you're making, you tend to mess up.''
He had two second-place finishes last season.
“I think it's harder to win out here than on the PGA Tour, because almost all of these guys have won lots of tournaments and they know how to win,'' Pavin said.
Funk made his first start on the 50-and-over tour since July. He had a pair of thumb operations, eventually having a tendon in his left thumb fused last November. He had to grip a club in the operating room so the surgeon could make sure the thumb was fused in the proper position.
“That was a big ordeal,'' Funk said. “I'm just happy to have a career again.''
Langer won the 2010 tournament on his way to player of the year honors and the Boca Raton resident serves as the unofficial host of the event. Friday night, he had more than 80 players and family members come to his house for dinner.
“This is like a home tournament for me,'' Langer said.
Senior held a one-shot lead going into the final round last year in the event, but faded to 17th after a 77. Senior also is winless on the Champions Tour. The Australian came close last year with a trio of second-place finishes, including two playoff losses.
“The only goal I have this year is I want to win,'' Senior said. “I probably had three or four chances to win last year, but never produced the goods coming down the stretch. It would be nice to get that out of the way.''
The first full-field event of the year started in steady rain and the sun finally broke through in the afternoon.
Mark Calcavecchia, riding a streak of 11 top-10 finishes, was a stroke back along with Chip Beck, Mark Brooks and John Huston. Joey Sindelar was at 68 along with Jay Haas, Bill Glasson, David Frost, Brad Faxon and Mike Goodes.
Defending champion Tom Lehman opened with a 71. Dan Forsman, the winner of the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii on Jan. 22, had a 72.