PITTSBURGH — Bruce Vaughan shot 6-under 64 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead over Fred Funk in the Senior Players Championship, the third of five Champions Tour majors.
The 55-year-old Vaughan matched the lowest round of his career and tied the first-round record in the event. He won the 2008 Senior British Open for his lone Champions Tour title.
Vaughan capped his bogey-free round with a birdie on par-5 18th, holing an 8-foot putt after hitting his approach into a greenside bunker.
“It wasn’t looking very good, to be honest with you,” Vaughan said. “I just executed well and it came off just perfect. When you’re playing good, that’s the kind of stuff that happens.”
Funk had four birdies , and a bogey on the final six holes.
“I played pretty solid all day,” Funk said. “I had one little hiccup when I missed a little 2-footer on 16, but for the first time, you know how people always say, ‘You get it back,’ and you always believe you never will, but I made a 50- or 60-footer on the next hole, so I got it back.”
Fred Couples, the winner last year at Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y., was two strokes back at Fox Chapel along with Tom Lehman, Michael Allen and Joe Daley.
Greg Norman opened with 67 in his first Champions Tour event since 2009.
EUROPEAN TOUR: In Portrush, Northern Ireland, France’s Gregory Bourdy and India’s Jeev Milkha Singh shot 7-under-par 65 to share the first-round lead in the first round of the Irish Open, while home favorite Rory McIlroy was five strokes back after a sloppy finish at Royal Portrush.
McIlroy, the U.S. Open champion, bogeyed two of his last three holes for 70 on the Dunluce Links. Fellow Northern Irish stars Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke shot 71.
Englishmen Mark Foster and Andrew Marshall were a stroke back along with Australia’s Matthew Zions, Sweden’s Oscar Floren, Finland’s Mikko Ilonen and France’s Edouard Dubois. Ireland’s Padraig Harrington had 67.
WEB.COM TOUR: In Newburgh, Ind., Omar Uresti shot 7-under-par 65 to take a two-shot lead in the United Leasing Championship, the first event on the Web.com Tour, formerly the Nationwide Tour.
Martin Piller and Lee Janzen are tied for second place.
Augusta resident Scott Parel opened with 71 while Aiken native Matt Hendrix shot a first-round 80.