HOOVER, Alabama — Andy Bean and Monday qualifier Mike Goodes shot 7-under 65s on Friday to share the first-round lead in the U.S. senior golf tour’s Regions Charity Classic. Leading money winner Bernhard Langer was two strokes back on the 7,503-yard Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Ross Bridge course. A two-time winner this year on the 50-and-over tour, Langer tied for 15th Sunday in The Players Championship on the regular U.S. men’s Tour. Without an exemption, Goodes had to qualify for the tournament on Monday in North Carolina and matched his best round since joining the U.S. Champions Tour in 2006. Goodes’ final birdie — on No. 13 — moved him to 7 under during a bogey-free round after Bean had taken the lead into the clubhouse. Two holes earlier, Goodes holed out from a bunker for another birdie. “It’s fun to play a good round, and I know it means absolutely nothing right now,” said Goodes, who has had to qualify for each of his six tournaments this year and has managed only one top-25 finish. “I hope I play two more.” Bean also is an unlikely leader. His only top-25 finish this year came when he tied for fourth at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf on April 27 and he has one win in 130 Champions Tour events. Two-time defending champion Brad Bryant opened with a 72 after bogeys on the final two holes. Bob Charles, Mike Hulbert and Walter Hall were three strokes behind Goodes and Bean, while Denis Watson was among six players four shots behind. Watson won the FedEx Kinko’s Classic on May 4 for his second victory of the year and fourth in two years.
The 72-year-old Charles bettered his age for the eighth time on the Champions Tour. The players used a two-tee start in midmorning and were allowed to lift, clean and place their balls in the fairways after the course was inundated with rain Thursday. “The golf course is a little softer than we would like, but the crew did a great job getting the course in shape,” Bean said. “We had a lot of water out here and they couldn’t have done a better job.”