Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - John Huston of Palm Harbor carded a 5-under-par 65 on Thursday and snared a 1-stroke lead after the opening round of the Senior Players Championship.
Huston, who is seeking his second Champions Tour victory, mixed an eagle, five birdies and a pair of bogeys during round one of the season's third major, which was delayed nearly five hours at the start due to inclement weather.
"I think we were fortunate being a little bit later, our delay was only a couple hours," said Huston. "The guys that, I'm sure they came out here, the first groups came out for their tee time and then had to stay here for five or six hours. I think our tee time was pretty much a blessing because we just stayed around and were able to stay at the hotel until it was time to come out."
Fred Couples, the 2011 champion, Fred Funk, Duffy Waldorf and Russ Cochran are tied for second place at 4-under 66, one shot ahead of Joel Edwards, Jim Gallagher, Jr., Tom Pernice, Jr., Mike Goodes and Michael Allen at Fox Chapel Golf Club.
David Frost, who edged Couples by a single shot at the season's second major, the Regions Tradition, in early June, is part of a large group tied for 11th at 2-under.
World Golf Hall of Fame member Colin Montgomerie shot 1-under 69 in his Champions Tour debut. The 31-time European Tour winner, who gained eligibility on the senior circuit when he turned 50 on Sunday, is tied for 21st place after 18 holes.
Defending champion Joe Daley carded a 1-over 71.
Huston, a seven-time PGA Tour winner, began on the 10th tee and was even through his outward nine, countering a bogey at the 13th with a birdie at No. 18, which kickstarted an impressive inward stretch.
The 52-year-old, who has dealt with back issues this year, made it two in a row with a birdie at the first, then completed the hat trick with another gain at the second.
A bogey at the third ended the run, but after a par on the fourth, Huston closed strong. He recorded back-to-back birdies to reach 3-under, then eagled the par-4 seventh to jump into the lead at 5-under. He parred out to remain in front.
"Yeah, it was definitely wet. Obviously that helps scoring, but the 18th hole I really didn't make anything and then all of a sudden the last 10 holes I made a bunch of putts so I think that kind of turned the round around," said Huston.
Cochran also reached 5-under on the day. He began on No. 10 and was even through 10 holes before carding an eagle at the par-5 second. He then birdied three of his next five holes to join Huston on top before tripping to a bogey at No. 8 and dropping into a tie for second at 4-under.
NOTES: Huston's best-ever finish in a major championship is a tie for third place at the Masters in 1990. His only Champions Tour victory came at the 2011 Dick's Sporting Goods Open ... Montgomerie ranks fourth all-time on the European Tour wins list. He won the European Tour Order of Merit a record eight times and captained the Europeans to a Ryder Cup victory in 2010 ... Couples has finished runner-up in his last two Champions Tour starts.
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