SONOMA, Calif. - Lonnie Nielsen took a one-shot lead at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship on Thursday, but the leaderboard was just as crowded as the standings for the Champions Tour's biggest prizes.
Nielsen shot 6-under 66 at Sonoma Golf Club to edge Jerry Pate early in what seems certain to be a dramatic final event of the tour's 25th season. Every significant award still is up for grabs, including the points competition for the Schwab Cup and its $1-million annuity.
Dana Quigley, the money leader and Cup points leader, three-putted the 18th hole to finish among nine players at 3 under, one stroke behind Bruce Fleisher. Thirteen players still have a mathematical shot at the Cup.
Nielsen has a lead for the first time in 52 career appearances on the tour. He squeaked into the elite 30-man field in 28th place on the money list, but played impressively under near-perfect conditions.
EUROPEAN PGA TOUR: Colin Montgomerie moved closer to winning the European Tour money title, shooting 4-under-par 67 for a share of the first-round lead with defending champion Ian Poulter in the Volvo Masters at Sotogrande, Spain. Montgomerie leads U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell by $182,000. Campbell had 72 and was 23rd in the 55-man field.