Golf

Cochran takes SAS Championship lead

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CARY, N.C. (AP)

Russ Cochran topped the SAS Championship leaderboard Friday on his return to the Champions Tour from a back injury, hitting all hit all 18 greens in regulation and shooting a 6-under 66.

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Cochran, the 2010 tournament winner, is making his first start since the US Senior Open in July.

''I came here hoping to finish the tournament really,'' Cochran said. ''But I fell into a great mode and played a good, solid round. Maybe I need more time off, I don't know.

''Of course, when you're playing well, you feel like you could do it all the time,'' Cochran said. ''But I've got to give myself a lot of room and be very, very patient and realize that I haven't been in the heat in a long time. I haven't played much less been in the heat. I'll be pretty calm (Saturday), I think.''

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For some golfers, the biggest prizes aren't their tournament wins but their wives and girlfriends.

Steve Pate, Andrew Magee, Fred Funk and Jay Don Blake were a stroke back. Funk, the Insperity Championship winner in May, missed a birdie putt on 18 by inches that would have given him a share of the lead.

''I had a really efficient front nine,'' said Funk, who made the turn with a 30. ''I got everything out of that front nine. Obviously, shooting 5 under's great. I'm playing really good. I'm playing solid, close to playing really, really good, and it's more — it's fun just to play.''

Magee extended his streak without a three-putt to 190 holes, the third-longest run on the Champions Tour this year.

Defending champion Kenny Perry and Bernard Langer topped a group at 68.

Neal Lancaster, from Smithfield, shot a 72 in his debut on the 50-and-over tour. He won the 1994 Byron Nelson Classic for his lone PGA Tour title.

Tagged: Fred Funk, Jay Don Blake, Russ Cochran

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