BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRCTV  Scott Hoch, the winner of the FedEx Kinko's Classic two weeks ago, opened with a 7-under 65, his best first-round score on the Champions Tour and also matched his lowest overall round on the circuit (65, Rd. 2, 2007 Toshiba Classic). Hoch had just one bogey today (18th) and has now made just three bogeys in his last 82 holes.

Scott Hoch's three-stroke advantage is the largest first-round lead on the Champions Tour thus far in 2007 and also matches the largest first-round lead in event history. At the inaugural event in 1992, the late Jack Kiefer led by three strokes after play on Friday and went on to finish T2 behind the late George Archer. In 1998, Terry Dill was three ahead after Round 1 and ended up T3, three strokes back of Hubert Green.

In the previous 10 official events on the Champions Tour this year, four first-round leaders have gone on to win - Fred Funk (Turtle Bay Championship), Bobby Wadkins (ACE Group Classic), Jay Haas (Toshiba Classic), Keith Fergus (Ginn Championship at Hammock Beach).

"It was a tough day, especially the way I started. The guys on the Champions Tour can really play. I haven't competed in a long time, only two tournaments in two years. Everything's new. I was nervous on the 1st tee and obviously making double-bogey on the first hole didn't help. I couldn't put together the whole game. Something was missing, either the tee shots or the irons, but mainly the putting. I didn't putt very well today. The last few holes I played a little bit better and I have a better idea what I have to do tomorrow. I hope I play better. It was really nice to play with old friends - Lee Trevino and Jay Haas. Even though he's 68, Lee can really still play. It's nice to be here. Beautiful weather, great golf course, nice people. It's great."

-- Seve Ballesteros after debuting on the Champions Tour with a 6-over-par 78

Canadian Jim Nelford aced the 192-yard, par-3 9th hole with a 3-iron. The ace was the sixth in the 16-year history of the event but was the first in seven years in Birmingham. It was the third ace on the Champions Tour in 2007 and marked the second consecutive event that a hole-in-one was made (D.A. Weibring/FedEx Kinko's Classic). Nelford's hole-in-one today was also the 17th ace of his career.

Another Canadian, Rod Spittle, a Monday qualifier, carded a 4-under 68 on Friday. It was Spittle's best opening round on the Champions Tour in eight career starts on the circuit.

Over the previous 15 years, only three first-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win - John Bland, who shared the lead with Bruce Summerhays in 1996 and won in a playoff; Hale Irwin, who shared the Friday lead with Jose Maria Canizares in 2001; and Bruce Fleisher in 2004, the only wire-to-wire winner in tournament history.

Loren Roberts' even-par 72 today ended his streak of opening rounds under par at 18 straight. The last time Roberts started a tournament with an over-par round was on Thursday at last summer's U.S. Senior Open at Prairie Dunes when he carded a 2-over 72.

Defending champion Brad Bryant opened with a 2-under 70 today and is T9. The Regions Charity Classic is the only event on the Champions Tour that has been played at least 15 years without a repeat winner.

Four players all made their 16th consecutive appearances in the Regions Charity Classic today - J.C. Snead (76), Gibby Gilbert (75), Jim Dent (75) and Jim Albus (73).

Statistical News and Notes: R.W. Eaks hit the longest measured drive today (336 yards, par-4 10th)…Mike Goodes hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation…Joe Ozaki and Denis Watson led the field in putting with 24 putts on the day…Scott Hoch and Jerry Pate one-putted 10 greens and Pate one-putted nine greens in a row (No. 3 through No. 11)…Bob Gilder and Bobby Wadkins, both played their first rounds without making a bogey.

Champions-Regions Charity Classic Par Scores
By The Associated Press
At Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Ross Bridge
Duluth, Ga.
Purse: $1.6 million
Yardage: 7,503; Par: 72 (36-36)