Forsman leads Greater Hickory by one, Lehman three back, Langer five

Dan Forsman
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Dan Forsman had eight birdies and a bogey in his first tour around the Jones Course at Rock Barn.
Associated Press

Series: Champions Tour

Published: Friday, October 12, 2012 | 6:18 p.m.

CONOVER, N.C. -- Dan Forsman overcame back problems Friday to shoot a 7-under 65 and take a one-stroke lead over Fred Funk, David Frost and Larry Mize in the Greater Hickory Classic.

Forsman had eight birdies and a bogey in the opening round on Rock Barn Golf and Spa's Jones Course. He won the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii in January for his third Champions Tour title.


R.W. Eaks won the Greater Hickory Classic in both 2007 and 2008, and is the event's only two-time champion.

The 54-year-old player pulled a back muscle two weeks ago.

"I hadn't struck a ball until (Thursday)," Forsman said. "I've been able to spend a lot of time on the putting green, and that paid off. I knew I had to play sensible because I had my limitations ... but my momentum built up once I made some putts. It was fun. I enjoyed the heck out of it."

Frost and Mize had bogey-free rounds, and Funk had four birdies and a closing eagle on the par-5 18th.

"I had a few opportunities early that I didn't make," said Funk, who won at The Woodlands in Texas in May for his seventh Champions Tour title and first in nearly two years. "But it turned out to be a good day."

Defending champion Mark Wiebe and Jay Don Blake shot 67. Wiebe had a hole-in-one on No. 3.

"That ace on No. 3 was just lucky," Wiebe said. "I didn't even know it had gone in. I heard some people cheering on the green, but I thought that was because I had hit it close."

Tom Lehman, 69 points behind leader Bernhard Langer in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, opened with a 68. Langer, the winner Sunday in the SAS Championship in Cary, had a 70.

Last week, Forsman had a second-round 80 and finished 78th at 10 over.

"I'll tell you how bad it was (last week) ... on the ninth hole, I had a spasm so bad I hit the deck," Forsman said. "My son (Tommy) had to help me up so I could finish the round."

After the final two regular-season events, the top 30 on the money list will advance to the Charles Schwab Cup Championship on Nov. 1-4 at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz. Forsman is 24th with $568,519.

"This couldn't have come at a worse time, because I'm trying to make the Schwab Cup," Forsman said. "I've got a lot riding on that personally, so I'm grateful to be able to come out here and play as well as I did today."