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Four share lead in Mississippi

Saucier, MI (Sports Network) - Hal Sutton and Corey Pavin carded matching 3- under 69s on Friday to grab a share of the lead after the first round of the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.

The former U.S. Ryder Cup captains were joined in the lead by Steve Elkington and Roger Chapman, who won a pair of majors last year.

Another major champion from last year, Joe Daley, is one of six players at minus-2. He stands alongside Michael Allen, Fred Funk, David Frost, Mark O'Meara and Olin Brown.

Defending champion Fred Couples opened with an even-par 72 at Fallen Oak Golf Club. He is tied for 23rd after the opening round.

Sutton, who doesn't have a top-10 finish since August 2011, parred the first five holes. He two-putted for birdie on the sixth and sank a 6-footer at the eighth to make the turn at minus-2.

The 54-year-old birdied three of the first four holes, all from inside 15 feet, around the turn to jump into the lead at 5-under. Sutton's run of birdies stopped when he bogeyed the par-3 14th.

After three pars in a row, Sutton also stumbled to a bogey at the last to end at minus-3.

"I was pleased with today's round. I haven't played very well. I've been trying to correct some bad habits that I had from that bad hip, and today was progress," stated Sutton, who had his left hip replaced five months ago. "I hit the ball solidly and the wind was a little bit tricky at times out there because it was up and down and wasn't really moving around a whole lot, but it would gust up and then it would lay down completely and then it would be back up. And that always makes for some uncertainty in your head."

Pavin started on the back nine and bogeyed two of his first four holes. He got one stroke back with a birdie at the par-5 15th, but parred the next three to make the turn at 1-over.

The reigning Allianz Championship winner birdied the par-5 first to get back to even-par. Pavin parred four in a row from the second, then drained three straight birdies from the sixth to gain a piece of the lead.

"It wasn't going too well, but then I just kind of hung in there and just kept playing, and I had five birdies after that," said Pavin of his slow start. "On the back nine, we had a couple of little rain squalls and one really good one. The first one was pretty good. But other than that, it was fairly benign. A little bit of breeze."

Elkington, who has two top-10 finishes in his first four tour starts, also started on the back nine. He had a bogey at the 13th and a birdie at 18 to turn at even-par.

The Champions Tour rookie tripped to a bogey at the second. Elkington poured in four consecutive birdies from the sixth to jump to 3-under.

Chapman started with five pars in a row. He then traded a birdie for a bogey from the sixth.

The Senior PGA and U.S. Senior Open champion birdied the par-5 13th. He followed a birdie on No. 15 with another at the 16th to join the fray at minus-3.

Bernhard Langer is among 12 players tied for 11th at 1-under 71.

NOTES: With bad weather expected on Saturday, tee times were moved up to 9-11:10 a.m. (ET) ... This is the first time Sutton has had a piece of the first-round lead since the 2000 Players Championship on the PGA Tour ... There were no bogeys-free rounds on Friday.

03/22 19:49:23 ET


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