Sat, Mar 19, 2011 - Page 19 News List

Casey holds two-shot lead after first round at Innisbrook

Reuters, TAMPA, FLORIDA

Paul Casey of Britain enjoyed his best ball-striking round of the year as he shot an impeccable seven-under-par 64 to grab the first-round lead in the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook on Thursday.

World No. 7 Casey, who won the Volvo Golf Champions event on the European Tour this season, held a two-stroke lead over fellow-Briton Martin Laird, Nick Watney and unheralded compatriots Garrett Willis and Scott Stallings.

Casey, starting at the 10th hole, registered seven birdies without a bogey, capping his stellar card with back-to-back birdies from the seventh at the challenging Copperhead course.

Watney, who won last week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship and has finished in the top-10 in each of his five tournaments this year, also got to seven-under with a string of three birdies after making the turn but two late bogeys dropped him to 66.

Willis, ranked 277th, had four birdies in a row from the second hole, his 11th hole of the day, to vault into contention. Scotsman Laird posted a bogey-free round, and 25-year-old Stallings had five birdies after making his turn.

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