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Floyd, Colbert Among Four Sharing Lead

October 5, 1996

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Raymond Floyd, Bunky Henry, Jim Colbert and Harold Henning fired 5-under-par 66s to share the lead after Friday’s opening round of the $800,000 Ralphs Senior Classic.

Chi Chi Rodriguez’s eagle on the 18th hole gave him a 4-under 67, one of six players within a shot off the lead.

Floyd birdied six of the first seven holes but could only manage one more birdie to go with bogeys at No.s 8 and 10.

``I three-utted the eighth and 10th holes,″ Floyd said. ``I had some good opportunities on the back but didn’t take advantage of them.″

Colbert lost this tournament last year by one shot to John Bland.

``I was second here last year,″ Colbert said. ``I made six really good putts today but I didn’t drive the ball well.″

Bland, the defending champion, finished with a 70.

Colbert was amused by his bogey at the 162-yard 10th hole.

``I saw smoke blowing from a barbecue down by the 10th hole,″ Colbert said. ``I decided on an 8-iron which I then hit into the rough. I was on a severe downslope and tried to hit the upslope with my shot. I went over the green but was able to get up and down for a bogey.

``I laughed when someone told me I nearly hit the pin. I missed the whole hill I was aiming at.″

Harold Henning, 62 on Thursday, is looking for his first victory since 1991. The South African had seven birdies and two bogeys, both after hitting approach shots into greenside bunkers.

``I made some putts today which covered up a lot of sins,″ Henning said. ``This is a fine course but not as demanding if you putt well. I’m not getting excited yet because I’ve played so poorly this year. But it sure is nice to shoot a low score.″

Conner birdied five of the first eight holes and posted his only bogey at the 444-yard 18th hole.

``I got off to a good start,″ said the 50-year-old native of Austria. ``I played in the U.S. Open in tennis in 1966 and 1967 and the U.S. Open in golf in 1974. The difference between tennis and golf now is I can’t play tennis anymore.″

Connor is the only man to have played in both events.

Colbert is eyeing the $120,000 first prize and is currently second on the money list, trailing Hale Irwin by nearly $200,000.

``I’d like Hale to know I’m there before the end of the season,″ Colbert said. ``I’ve been a little inconsistant this year but I’m up right now after my win last week.″

Colbert became the first four-time winner of the season with his victory in the Vantage Championship last week. Colbert has earned $1,245,395 so far this year.

Lee Trevino, who shot a 72, withdrew due to recurring back problems.

The Ralphs Classic is played over the 6,575-yard Wilshire Country Club course.

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