Fully recovered from wrist surgery that cost him much of the 2011 season, Langer and his fellow leaders shot a 6-under 65 at the Newport Beach Country Club.
Tom Kite, Steve Pate, Bill Glasson, David Eger and Loren Roberts all had a 66. CBS golf analyst Gary McCord, making a rare appearance on the Champions Tour, was part of a large group at 67. Fred Couples and Mark Calcavecchia also shot that score.
The highlight to Langer's round came at the par-4 sixth, where he holed an 8-iron from the fairway for an eagle.
Browne is coming off his best year on the over-50 tour, having won the U.S. Senior Open. Clampett has never finished better than fourth on the circuit.