Els birdies last hole for Champions lead

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

KA'UPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii. (AP) Ernie Els birdied the final hole Thursday, set up by a difficult wedge from a fairway bunker, giving him an 8-under 64 and a one-shot lead over Vijay Singh as the PGA Tour Champions season began at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.

Bernhard Langer, coming off his sixth Charles Schwab Cup title last year at age 64, had knee surgery in the offseason and still managed to join the large group at 66.

Defending champion Darren Clarke, Retief Goosen, Stephen Ames and Stephen Alker also were at 66. Alker had no status last year until he went from a qualifier to a series of top 10s and eventually a victory.

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Money Leaders: Champions
Rank Player Earnings
1 Bernhard Langer $3,255,499
2 Jim Furyk $3,141,663
3 Miguel Angel Jimenez $2,800,098
4 Ernie Els $2,719,445
5 Jerry Kelly $2,588,101
6 Retief Goosen $2,171,433
7 Kevin Sutherland $2,130,613
8 Mike Weir $2,050,267
9 Darren Clarke $2,037,493
10 Alex Cejka $1,855,610
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