Browne’s 69 ties for Traditions lead

Olin Browne carded a bogey-free 3-under-par 69 to tie Jay Haas, Mark Calcavecchia and Chien Soon Lu of Taiwan for the first-round lead in the Regions Tradition, the first Champions Tour major of the season at Shoal Creek Golf Club in Birmingham, Ala.

Browne, who played college golf at Occidental College in Los Angeles, recorded birdies on the eighth, 11th and 17th holes in cold, windy conditions.

“It was blustery and it was difficult to gauge, but my caddie and I did a decent job,” said Browne, whose only victory on the senior circuit came in the 2011 U.S. Senior Open at Inverness in Toledo, Ohio, after he claimed three victories in his career on the PGA Tour and four on what is now the Tour.

“I imagine the course, it played long because of the rain. It was soft. I don’t know how much it’s going to be able to dry out, but if the high skies stay and the low humidity and things dry out a little bit, it will play a little faster. The greens will get firmer, it might be harder to get close to the pins.”

Haas, seeking is fourth Champions Tour major title, holed a 50-foot putt on the 12th hole for his third consecutive birdie and sixth of the day to get to 5-under and sole possession of the lead, but he fell back with bogeys on the 13th and 16th holes.

Calcavecchia, who captured the 1989 Open Championship at Royal Troon and has won twice on the senior circuit, made his only bogey on the sixth hole before posting three birdies on the back nine and barely missing a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the outright lead.

Lu, who has won 34 times as a pro including once as a senior in the Fubon Senior Open on the European Senior Tour, bounced back from two bogeys on the back nine to birdie two of the last three holes and grab his share of the lead.

Corey Pavin was at 4-under after three birdies in four holes through No. 14, but took bogeys on the next two holes and shot 70 to tie for fifth with Steve Elkington of Australia, who was tied for the lead until making his only bogey at No. 18, and Willie Wood, who also had a bogey on the last hole.

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