Glasson and Forsman lead Funk by one after Round 1 at Regions Tradition

Bill Glasson at the Regions Tradition
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Bill Glasson was in the first group teeing off Thursday at the Regions Tradition and had sole possession of the lead for about four hours.
By
John Zenor
Associated Press

Series: Champions Tour

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Bill Glasson swiftly polished off his round at Shoal Creek, finishing before lunchtime and leaving the rest of the Regions Tradition field chasing.

Dan Forsman didn't catch up until about four hours later Thursday when he completed a run of four straight birdies at No. 14.

Forsman and Glasson shared the first-round lead at 6-under 66 in the Regions Tradition, the second of the Champions Tour's five major championships.

Glasson and Fulton Allem were first on the course and done by 11:00 a.m., finishing up in 3 hours, 21 minutes. The solo lead held up longer than that, though Glasson might not have noticed because he said he wouldn't spend the afternoon monitoring the scoreboard.

"My philosophy is I need all the birdies to make up for the impending bogeys I'm going to make," he said. "So it doesn't do any good for me to watch. I just need to make as many birdies as I can.

"This course will get you, there's no doubt about it. It's about one of the best courses in the country."

Glasson has overcome tougher obstacles. He has undergone 25 surgeries, including back and neck fusions. This is the first time he's held at least a share of the lead since the 1997 Las Vegas Invitational, where he claimed the last of his seven PGA Tour titles.

Fred Funk was a stroke back, and Bernard Langer opened with a 68. Glasson, Forsman and Funk all had their sons working as caddies.

Forsman, who missed the cut at the Senior PGA two weeks ago, set the stage by asking son Tommy for a driver on the first tee, instead of playing it more conservatively with a 3-wood.

"A lot of times on a course like this you say, `I'm not going to play a Mickey Mouse game,'" Forsman said. "It may be futile, who knows? It worked in this case.

"That kind of set the tone that I was going to be aggressive on the course today."

His run of birdies came after a marshal found the glove he had lost on the 10th hole. Coincidence? Maybe not.

"The marshal came up to me and said, `Did you lose a glove on the fairway back there?'" said Forsman, who won the opener at Hualalai. "I said, `Oh gosh.' So I put it back on and went out and birdied the next four holes. So I guess the glove I received from my walking scorer on the 11th tee is the reason I had those four birdies, so I have to lift my cap and say thank you to him."

Glasson closed his bogey-free round with a pair of birdies in a strong rebound from a 75th-place finish last week in Iowa in the Principal Charity Classic.

"That was a miserable experience," said Glasson, who tied for 58th last year at Shoal Creek. He knocked 11 strokes off that opening-round performance.

The 20-foot birdie putt from the right side on the par-4 12th hole was especially cathartic. "I don't think I've ever parred it, let alone made a birdie," Glasson said.

He and Allem even beat most of the fans out there, finishing the round with about 20 people in the gallery, including a few wearing volunteers' polo shirts.

Defending champion Tom Lehman had an up-and-down 69. He had seven birdies but hit into the water on No. 9 for double bogey and had two bogeys.

Lehman thought some low rounds might be in the works when he saw Glasson's score.

"I looked at the board at one point and there was a 6 ... a 4, a bunch of 3s," Lehman said. "So you think the course is giving up some birdies, so be aggressive.

"When you see that, up by 3, it makes me happy that it's a four-round tournament. In the three-rounders, getting off to a fast start is really, really important."