CARY, N.C. – Russ Cochran shot an 8-under 64, making six birdies in a seven-hole stretch in the middle of the round and eagling No. 17, to take a one-stroke lead over defending champion Tom Pernice Jr. on Friday in the Champions Tour’s SAS Championship.
Cochran, coming off his first victory on the 50-and-over tour two weeks ago in South Korea, had the best first-round score in the history of the tournament.
“I think that’s probably the reason I played good today because I’ve been on a high from the last three or four weeks,” Cochran said “I was certainly a little shaky starting off. I had a lot of par saves, so really a lucky round. But I played some really good golf the last 12 or 13 holes.”
Pernice had a hole-in-one on the 188-yard 11th hole.
“I hit it right at the hole, and I thought it was going to be short,” Pernice said. “I turned away to put my club away, and the next thing I know, they’re screaming that it went in the hole. So I didn’t get to see it, but that’s OK. … The hole-in-one was great, really got me going. But the save for birdie on 12, since I hit it out there and had a pretty simple shot to reach and missed the green and then got up and down, really, was really the key to the round.”
Bob Gilder and David Eger opened with 66s, and Nick Price and Ted Schulz followed at 67.
Bernhard Langer, the tour leader with five victories, and Fred Couples had 71s.