Encompass Championship

A lone golfer watches a weather system approach the 2014 Encompass Championship Pro-Am at the North Shore Country Club Wednesday. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune / June 18, 2014)

Soft greens plus light winds in Glenview equal what Championship Tour players are describing as ideal scoring conditions. And, no surprise, they’re taking advantage.

Tom Lehman leads the way after shooting a bogey-free 7-under 65 at North Shore Country Club on Friday morning.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been in an interview room,” said Lehman, the 1996 British Open champion who has struggled with his putting of late. “That’s how the year has been – erratic.”

Roger Chapman is second at 6-under, and Jeff Sluman is in a pack with Mark O’Meara at 5-under.

Said Chapman: “I felt very relaxed out there.”

The tournament format calls for amateurs to play with pros on Friday and Saturday.

Patrick Mannelly, the Bears long-snapper who announced his retirement Friday morning, said of his goal for his first tee shot: “Just make contact. Don’t hit anybody.”

Mission accomplished, though Mannelly’s drive on No. 10, his first hole, sailed into the left rough.

Brian Urlacher, who has lowered his handicap from 8 to 5 since retiring, said his game is miles apart from Sluman’s. The two partnered Thursday.

“Every once in a while, I hit a good shot,” Urlacher said. “But they do everything good. Sluman got up-and-down from the bunker every time. Me, not so much. But it was fun to watch him play.”

 

tgreenstein@tribune.com

Twitter @TeddyGreenstein