American Ben Crane had a one-shot lead at the end of the first round of the Players Championship on Thursday after producing a seven-under par round of 65 while Tiger Woods struggled with his putting.
John Mallinger, Swede Richard Johnson and German Alex Cejka were tied for second on six-under 66 at the TPC Sawgrass course.
World No. 1 Woods was six shots off the lead after his putting let him down.Crane was the exact opposite, sinking some superb putts — he needed just 22 in all — setting his tone with a excellent 30 footer on his first hole, the 10th.
Nine players were two shots shy of the lead on five-under including Britain’s Ian Poulter, Colombian Camilo Villegas and South Africa’s Retief Goosen.
■MICHELOB ULTRA OPEN
AFP, WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA
Lorena Ochoa, fresh from an LPGA victory in her native Mexico two weeks ago, fired a seven-under par 64 on Thursday to seize the first-round lead in the US$2.2 million Michelob Ultra Open.
The world No. 1 was one shot in front of Australian Lindsey Wright, who is making her first start since a fourth-place finish at the first women’s major of the season — the Kraft Nabisco Championship — early last month.
Wright’s 65 included six birdies with no bogeys and left her one stroke in front of South Koreans Han Hee-won and Sarah Lee and Finland’s Minea Blomqvist, who shared third on 66.
South Korea’s Lee Seon hwa and Choi Na yeon and Taiwan’s Amy Yang had 67s. Taiwan’s Teresa Lu was two-under par at 69, with Yani Tsung at 71 and Candie Kung one-over at 72.
AFP, TURIN, ITALY
Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin carded a course record 64 for a three-shot lead after the first round of the Italian Open on Thursday.
The 28-year-old is seven under par with Christian Cevaer and Raphael Jacquelin of France, Scotsman Richie Ramsay and Marcus Higley of England tied for second place after opening 67s.