- Associated Press - Friday, May 5, 2017

THE WOODLANDS, Texas (AP) - It didn’t take Tom Lehman long to find his groove at The Woodlands.

Lehman birdied six of his first nine holes, including four straight before the turn, en route to an 8-under 64 on Friday and the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions’ Insperity Invitational.

That matched the 58-year-old Lehman’s lowest opening-round score on the senior circuit.

“Well, I got off to a slow start in terms of the way I was swinging, but a fast start in terms of scoring,” said Lehman, who won the Tucson Conquistadores Classic in March for his 10th victory on the 50-and-over tour. “All I know is I made three putts over 40 feet in the first nine holes and I haven’t made three putts like that in three years.”

Kirk Triplett and 63-year-old Jay Haas were tied for second at 67. John Daly, Mark Brooks, Russ Cochran and Paul Goydos were another shot back, and Schwab Cup leader Bernhard Langer was among a group of five players at 69.

Defending champion Jesper Parnevik had a 71.

Coming off arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, Lehman posted his lowest round of the season on a sunny day with a steady wind hovering around 15 mph. He hit 12 of 14 fairways on the 7,002-yard layout, reached 14 greens in regulation, and needed just 24 putts.

Only a bogey at No. 7 put a dent in a solid day.

“The wind swirling through the trees is what really makes the course so difficult on a breezy day,” said Lehman, a runner-up here in 2012 and 2015. “It’s so hard to really be certain of what direction it’s going. It therefore makes it very easy to be way off with your distance if you don’t kind of guess right.”

Notes: Colin Montgomerie, sidelined with torn ligaments in his left ankle, shot 71 in his first start since the Chubb Classic in February. It’s his 31st consecutive sub-par round. … Steve Lowery withdrew after shooting 11-over 83. … Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Lee Trevino will tee off Saturday in an exhibition match after the second round is completed. They’ll compete in an 18-hole scramble against three other teams: David Graham, Tom Weiskopf and Tony Jacklin; Hale Irwin, Charles Coody and Dave Stockton; and Fuzzy Zoeller, Ben Crenshaw and Bill Rogers.

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