"Only in America. And nobody means it more than me," said Agim Bardha, whose golf bag carries the same slogan.

Bardha, an Albanian-American hairdresser in his first exempt year on the Senior PGA Tour, shot 66 yesterday in the GTE North Classic and is one shot off the pace at Indianapolis's Broadmoor Country Club.

Rocky Thompson, Dale Douglass and Terry Dill posted seven-under-par 65s, and Harold Henning, Mike Hill and Rives McBee had 66s too, but Bardha was the human-interest story of the first round.

Born in Albania, he fled to Greece in 1953 with his mother and three brothers, spent three years in Germany and emigrated to Detroit.

"They have no concept of what golf is all about. They don't even know the sport exists," said Bardha, who described Albania as a country without golf courses.

His boss at beauty school introduced him to the game, and by 1970, when he joined a Detroit-area club, he had a 9 handicap.

His wife, Sheriban, oversees his suburban Detroit hair salon while he plays the tour. Bardha often combines his passions by giving haircuts to such Senior players as Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino and Chi Chi Rodriguez.

"It's the only beauty shop in the world that has more men than women," he said.

PGA Tour: Scott Verplank strung seven birdies in a row, 11 in all, in a round of 10-under 62, but Ray Stewart followed an opening-day 63 with a 70 for a one-stroke lead halfway through the Greater Milwaukee Open at Tuckaway CC in Franklin, Wis.

Behind Stewart's 133 came Ken Green (69) at 134 and a group at 135. Verplank totaled 136 after birdies on holes 11-17 gave him a chance to tie the tour record of eight in a row but he only parred 18.