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Haas & Zoeller lead Fred Meyer Challenge

The team of Jay Haas and Fuzzy Zoeller shot a 10-under-par 62 today and took a one-stroke after the first round of the Fred Meyer Challenge best-ball event at The Reserve Vineyards & Golf Club.

Haas had planned to spend time at home with his family this week. Instead, he became a last-minute fill-in for Tom Lehman, who injured his knee last weekend.

''They asked if I wanted to come and play. I asked if it was a trick question,'' Haas said.

If Haas and Zoeller can hold off the rest of the field in Tuesday's second round, they will divide the $180,000 first prize. The way Haas played today, Zoeller figures they will be hard to beat.

''I don't even know why the other groups are going to show up tomorrow,'' Zoeller joked.

The Haas-Zoeller team got off to an excellent start with birdies on six of the first seven holes, and Haas made four of those birdie putts. That was good enough to give the duo a front-nine 29.

They added birdies on Nos. 12, 13 and 16, but they still only had a one-stroke lead. Haas pushed the lead to two strokes when he hit a 4-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th, but the second-place team of Jim Furyk and David Frost also birdied 18 to close the gap back to one stroke.

Haas held last year's first-round lead while teaming with Phil Mickelson. But that tandem faltered the second day, losing by four strokes to Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade.

Faxon and Andrade posted a 64 today, joining Brian Henninger and Scott McCarron, Tim Herron and Stewart Cink, and John Cook and Mark O'Meara in a tie for third.

This year's tournament was the first time since 1997 that both Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer appeared in the event.

Since they were paired in different foursomes, their only head-to-head competition came in a pre-tournament skills challenge. The two legends took turns choosing sides among the pros on hand and after eight rounds, the event was tied 4-4.

To break the tie, Nicklaus and Palmer faced off in a pitch-and-run contest from 60 feet. Nicklaus's third and final attempt eased within 1 1/2 feet of the cup, about 18 inches better than Palmer's best effort.

''Same old stuff,'' Palmer muttered after another, albeit unofficial, loss to his old nemesis.

In the official event, Nicklaus and his son Gary carded a 65.

Palmer teamed with tournament host Peter Jacobsen and they also shot a 65.

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