Kaupulehu-Kona, HI (SportsNetwork.com) - Rocco Mediate carded a first-round, 6-under 66 on Friday and he holds a 1-shot lead at the Champions Tour's season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship.
Mediate is looking to start the 2015 season with a victory after going winless in 2014. Mediate's two wins on the Champions Tour both came in 2013. He's also won six times in his career on the PGA Tour.
Corey Pavin began the week with a 5-under 67 at Hualalai Golf Club and he is alone in second place followed by seven players at 4-under.
Six-time major champion Tom Watson headlines the group of players two shots behind the leader at 4-under 68. The 65-year-old Watson is tied for third with Esteban Toledo, Paul Goydos, Bart Bryant, Olin Browne, John Cook and Wes Short, Jr.
Defending champion Bernhard Langer, who is coming off a five-win season in 2014, ended the first round tied for 25th at even-par 72.
Mediate took control early on as he poured in three birdies on his first four holes at one three and four. Following a pair of pars on five and six, Mediate drained his fourth gain on No. 7. Two holes later, Mediate stumbled to a bogey on No. 9 and he made the turn at 3-under.
An eagle on the par-5 10th hole got Mediate right back on track. He then ran off three straight pars from 11 before making another birdie on No. 14, moving him to 6-under.
After trading a bogey on No. 16 for a birdie on No. 17, Mediate closed things out with a par at the last to grab the early lead in the season-opening event.
"I made a bunch of putts today," said Mediate. "It was one of those days, had a ball today. It was great playing with Tom (Watson). I like the place. I always have. Love the golf course. It fits my eye."
Pavin had a strong front nine followed by an up-and-down back nine on day one. A birdie at the first got Pavin going, and after four straight pars from two he rolled in back-to-back gains on six and seven.
Pavin made the turn with a pair of pars on eight and nine. Just like Mediate, Pavin drained an eagle on the par-5 10th to move his score to 5-under. A bogey on 11 gave one of those shots back, but Pavin responded three holes later with his fourth birdie on No. 14.
Pavin played his final four holes at even par after making a bogey on 16 and a birdie at the last.
Without one disastrous hole, Langer could very well be near the top of the leaderboard. A trio of birdies from three had the defending champion rolling, but two holes later Langer made a mess of No. 7.
Langer's second shot on seven found a waste area with hardened lava and rocks. Instead of taking an unplayable drop, Langer attempted to punch the ball out. After taking four swings and unable to get the ball out, Langer's club hit the ball twice on his seventh shot, resulting in a 1-stroke penalty. He wound up two-putting from there for a 10 on the par-5.
Langer made two more birdies on 10 and 16. Besides the seventh hole, Langer played the other 17 at 5-under.
NOTES: Mediate won at the Allianz Championship and the Shaw Charity Classic in 2013, his rookie season on the Champions Tour ... Pavin also won the Allianz Championship in 2012, his lone win on tour ... Watson's last victory came at the 2011 Senior PGA Championship ... Of the 40 players in the field, only 12 of them finished their first round above par.