OMAHA, Neb. — It’s never been so crowded at the top of the U.S. Senior Open leaderboard.
When Tom Lehman chipped in from 45 feet on the 18th hole Thursday, he joined six others at 3-under-par 67 for the first round at the Omaha Country Club.
There had never been as many as seven co-leaders after the opening round of the event. The previous record was five in 1997.
Kenny Perry shot a 67 in the morning, putting together a solid start in his bid for a second straight win in a senior major. Michael Allen and Jay Don Blake also were 3 under after their morning rounds, and Gary Hallberg, Mark O’Meara, Fred Funk and Lehman came in with the same score in the afternoon.
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The hilly, 6,700-yard course took a toll on the field of golfers age 50 and older, especially in the afternoon as temperatures reached the upper 80s with a light breeze. The small and undulating greens browned up in the heat and proved dicey.
Chien Soon Lu, Peter Senior, Rocco Mediate and 2010 champion Bernhard Langer shots 68s. Colin Montgomerie, who turned 50 last month and is playing in his second senior event, was in a pack that was two shots behind.
Defending champion Roger Chapman struggled with his putter and was seven shots behind after a 74.
Tom Watson, who played with Langer and Montgomerie and drew the largest galleries of the day, struggled with his irons while shooting a 70 that included one birdie and one bogey.
Kirk Triplett, a graduate of Pullman High School, also shot a 70. Seattle native Fred Couples, coming off three straight runner-up finishes on the Champions Tour, had a 1-over 71.
• Defending champion Zach Johnson shot a 7-under 64 and was tied with Camilo Villegas for the lead after the opening round of the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill. Matt Bettencourt made the field as a late alternate and shot a 6-under 65. He was tied for second with Daniel Summerhays and Brendon de Jonge. Boo Weekley was among a pack of players at 5-under 66.
Ryan Moore of Puyallup shot a 67, as did three-time tournament champion Steve Stricker.
Jeff Gove of Seattle and Andres Gonzales of Olympia each shot a 70. Kyle Stanley from Gig Harbor had a 73.
• Angela Stanford and Catriona Matthew shot 8-under 63s to share the first-round lead at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Waterloo, Ontario, two strokes ahead of top-ranked Inbee Park. Park is trying to become the first golfer to win four straight LPGA Tour events since Lorena Ochoa in 2008.
Former Husky Paige Mackenzie shot a 69. Washington resident Wendy Ward had a 70.
• Phil Mickelson eased back into links golf with a 6-under 66 at the Scottish Open in Inverness, leaving him behind two Englishman after a low-scoring first round. John Parry, ranked No. 471, had a bogey-free 64 and Simon Khan (65) also tamed the Castle Stuart course.