Cary, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Russ Cochran fired a 6-under 66 on Friday to grab a share of the lead following the first round of the SAS Championship.
Cochran, who won this event in 2010, is joined by Larry Nelson and Mark Mouland.
Defending champion Bernhard Langer carded a 5-under 67 during his opening round at Prestonwood Country Club to sit in a tie with Michael Allen, David Frost, Mike Goodes and Kirk Triplett for fourth place.
Two-time winner this season Kenny Perry is among a group of nine players tied for ninth at 4-under 68. Also in that group is 2004 SAS Championship winner Craig Stadler.
Cochran opened his round with eight straight pars before tripping to a bogey at the ninth to make the turn at 1-over.
But he would catch fire over a sizzling back nine to race to the top of the leaderboard, starting by holing out his second shot for an eagle at the 10th.
After adding birdies at the 12th and 14th to move to 3-under, Cochran closed out his day with three straight birdies from the 16th to claim the clubhouse lead.
"I wasn't expecting too much, I was a little bit off with the putter, and then holed a 7-iron on the 10th hole there and it seemed to kind of kickstart things just right off the start," said Cochran.
Nelson, meanwhile, had recorded back-to-back birdies at the first and second before rolling in four straight gains from the fifth to reach 6-under.
A bogey at the 10th halted his momentum, but he bounced right back with a birdie at the 12th. He would par his final six holes to stay at 6-under.
"Today I just felt really comfortable hitting shots and I got 6-under on the front and that's what we were thinking about. I said, well, if I can shoot under par on the back or even par on the back, I'm going to shoot my age," Nelson said.
Mouland teed off with the second to last group off the first tee and opened his round with a birdie at the first.
He traded a bogey for a birdie from the fourth to remain at 1-under before rolling in back-to-back gains at the seventh and eighth.
After parring his next six holes, the Welshman birdied three straight from the 15th to grab his share of the lead. He parred the last to stay there.
NOTES: Cochran has now held the opening-round lead in four of his five starts at this event ... Mouland was a Monday qualifier for this event ... Nick Faldo, who was making his first start on the Champions Tour in America, withdrew during the first round with a left elbow injury. Faldo has appeared in two previous Senior British Open Championships.