Jeff Sluman leads Champions' major

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An LPGA Tour official checks out the standing water at the LPGA Championship. Thursday's first round had to be suspended.  JAMIE GERMANO/DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE
JAMIE GERMANO/DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE
An LPGA Tour official checks out the standing water at the LPGA Championship. Thursday's first round had to be suspended.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Jeff Sluman and Fred Couples are hoping for more days like Thursday, when the wind was down and the rain and bogeys stayed away.

Sluman birdied No. 17 en route to a 7-under-par 65 and a one-stroke lead over Couples after the first round in the Regions Tradition, the second of five Champions Tour majors.

Sluman, who had eight birdies, and Couples both had their only bogeys on No. 16 at Shoal Creek.

Sluman knows the game can shift as swiftly as the weather, which cleared up in time for the round after nearly two inches of rain from Wednesday afternoon into the early morning.

“The greens are very fast out there, but they’re as good as we’ve seen all year certainly, or the last five years that I can remember,” he said. “They were just perfect speed and I was getting the ball to the hole.

“On days like today, it feels like it’s easy and then sometimes you come out the next day and it feels like an alien took over your body. I hope that doesn’t happen to me (Friday).”

Couples, the Presidents Cup captain and World Golf Hall of Famer, made a 20-foot eagle putt on the par-5 sixth hole and a 30-footer for birdie on the next hole. His only blemish was a bogey on the par-3 16th when he overshot the green.

LPGA TOUR: A steady rain punctuated by heavy downpours and an occasional bolt of lightning forced the postponement of Thursday’s first round of the LPGA Championship in Pittsford, N.J.

The LPGA’s second major of the year now will begin this morning, the second round will be staged Saturday, and the players will attempt to complete 36 holes on Sunday.

EUROPEAN TOUR: In Atzenbrugg, Austria, Tom Lewis shot 9-under-par 63 for a two-stroke lead after the opening round of the Lyoness Open.

Joost Luiten shot 65, while former Augusta State standout Jamie Elson shot 70.


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