Sluman leads by 1 at Regions Tradition
Birmingham, AL (Sports Network) - Jeff Sluman fired a 7-under 65 on Thursday to grab a 1-stroke lead at the end of the first round of the Regions Tradition.
Sluman leads the season's second major by one stroke over Fred Couples, who carded a 6-under 66 at Shoal Creek Club.
"I kept the ball in the fairway all day really. Wind was absent out there," said Sluman. "With the rains last night, the golf course was possible to kind of get it and I had a lot of good iron shots, converted some putts."
Duffy Waldorf and Peter Senior shared third at 5-under, while Michael Allen, Mark Calcavecchia, David Frost and Corey Pavin are tied for fifth at minus-4.
Two-time defending champion Tom Lehman is among a large group of players to shoot a 69 and sit four strokes off the pace.
Sluman opened his round with birdies at the first and third, and later picked up another shot at the seventh.
He then followed back-to-back gains at the ninth and 10th with another pair of birdies at the 13th and 14th to move to 7-under before tripping to his lone bogey of the day at the 16th.
However, he bounced back with a birdie at the 17th to retake the outright lead from the clubhouse leader Couples, and closed with a par to stay there.
"I made eight birdies, one bogey, I just really played solid golf," Sluman stated.
Couples teed off earlier in the day and quickly got on the board with a birdie at the third.
After parring the next two holes, the two-time major winner on the Champions Tour poured in an eagle from 20 feet at the sixth and a 30-foot birdie at the seventh to hit the turn at 4-under.
He opened his inward nine with birdies at Nos. 10 and 11, and then followed three straight pars with a birdie at the 15th to reach 7-under.
But Couples bogeyed the 16th and ended with back-to-back pars to grab the clubhouse lead at minus-6.
"The golf course played longer and I just felt like if I got off to driving the ball well, I would continue to hit driver and hit it down there and I did," Couples said. "I drove it well and I had a nice stretch of holes there."
Waldorf and Senior each recorded five birdies throughout their bogey-free rounds to move into contention.
NOTES: Lehman, Jack Nicklaus, Gil Morgan and Fred Funk are the only players to win this event more than once ... Lehman is trying to join Hale Irwin as the only people to win a major tournament on the Champions Tour three straight times. Irwin won the PGA Seniors' Championship from 1996-1998 ... Sluman is seeking his first major title on the Champions Tour and his sixth victory overall ... Sluman's previous best finish in five starts in this tournament was a tie for seventh last year ... The last player to hold sole possession of the first-round lead at the Regions Tradition and go on to win the event was Lehman in 2011.
06/06 19:13:22 ET