Published: Mar 24, 2012 1:37 AM EDT
Updated: Mar 24, 2012 6:31 AM EDT

SAUCIER, Miss. (AP) - Tom Pernice Jr., is off to a terrific start in soggy conditions at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.

In his first Champions Tour event this year, Pernice was 7 under through 12 holes before play was suspended because of darkness. The 52-year-old Pernice has played eight PGA Tour events this season.

Chien Soon Lu and David Eger - who won the inaugural tournament in 2010 - are one stroke back. Lu played 16 holes, and Eger completed 15.

Only a handful of players completed their rounds because the start of the tournament was delayed more than four hours after more than 9 inches of rain fell on Fallen Oak in 36 hours.

Fred Couples was 3 under through 12 holes.

Defending champion Tom Lehman was even par through 11.