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Langer, Pernice both atop leaderboard

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BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) - Bernhard Langer is a Hall of Famer who has won the Champions Tour money title four of the last five years. Tom Pernice Jr. is a career journeyman who at 53 tried to reach the PGA Tour through q-school last year.

They have different pedigrees, but they ended in the same place Friday - tied for the first-round lead of the Allianz Championship at Broken Sound after six-under 66s.

Langer, who holed out a bunker shot to win here in a playoff in 2010, birdied three of the last four holes. Pernice was even through eight holes, but played the next six holes in six-under, including an eagle at No. 5 when he holed a pitching wedge from 128 yards, to charge into contention.

Defending champion Corey Pavin, Roger Chapman, Fred Funk, Scott Simpson and two players making their Champions Tour debuts - Rocco Mediate and Bart Bryant - are a shot back after 67s.

Langer's finish was more impressive because he was weakened by the flu.

``It's no fun playing sick, but I played pretty strong coming home,'' said Langer, who was hosting the field for dinner at his Boca Raton home Friday night. ``I could have been six- or seven-under the last seven holes.''

Since turning 50, Pernice has concentrated on playing the PGA Tour more than the Champions. But after losing full-exempt status on the PGA Tour and posting just one top-10 finish on the Champions Tour last year, Pernice knows it's time for a change.

``"I always thought I was going to play on the PGA Tour as long as I was competitive and had status,'' Pernice said. ``Why wouldn't you want to play on the greatest tour against the world's best players as long as you can? But I'm committed to playing the Champions Tour this year. I guess I need to act my age.''

Pavin was tied for the lead before he bogeyed his 17th hole and failed to birdie the par-5 18th. Mediate closed with three consecutive birdies, and could have been tied for the lead, but his eagle putt at the 18th came up just short.

``I didn't eat today. I was a little nervous and felt that coming in,'' Mediate said. ``I'll change that from now on.''

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

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