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Jim Furyk leads Grand Slam of Golf

Tiger Woods liked his start and his finish. Jim Furyk was pretty happy with his play all day.

Furyk shot a 5-under 67 Tuesday for a one-stroke lead over U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy after the opening round of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.

"I did a good job of getting the ball in the hole and scoring," Furyk said. "I kept the ball in the fairway most of the day. I was putting from long distance for a lot of the day, but my putting was very good."

Woods, the defending champion, has won the exclusive four-man event a record six straight times in seven appearances. But he struggled off the tee and scrambled to a 70.

"No. 1 and 18 were solid," Woods said. "The other 16 holes were just not very good. I struggled today. It was frustrating."

Woods is coming off a spectacular eight-win season, including victories at the British Open and PGA Championship while finishing atop the money list with nearly $10 million.

"As poorly as I executed today, to only be three back, I'm very fortunate," Woods said. "I still have a chance to win the tournament."

But the world's No. 2 golfer behind Woods, showed his consistency, composure and masterful putting. Furyk closed with two birdies, giving him five on the day. He was the only player with a bogey-free round.

Furyk's 10-foot birdie on the 225-yard No. 17, moved him to 4 under for a one-stroke lead over Ogilvy, who overshot the green and recorded his only bogey of the round.

"Jim's just the best scorer in the world," Ogilvy said. "He just seems to get the most out of every round he ever plays, which is why he's the second-best player in the world."

Mike Weir was at 71 in the 36-hole event reserved for the winners of this year's majors.

With Woods claiming two majors and Masters winner Phil Mickelson dropping out of the event, Furyk and Weir each earned their second invite to Kauai based on their performances in the four majors.

Furyk won the 2003 Grand Slam, beating Weir by eight strokes.

Woods had five birdies like Furyk, but also had three bogeys.

Woods, who was mistakenly introduced to the crowd as the Masters champion before the round, got off to a birdie-birdie start but missed a 6-footer on the fourth hole to drop to 1 under.

After he birdied Nos. 6 and 7, Woods never was able to find his groove. Several of his drives sailed right, landing in the rough near cart paths and trees. He birdied 18 to finish at 2 under.

Ogilvy, the youngest player in the field at 29, took a one-stroke lead by sinking a 5-footer on the par-4 fifth. His putt was set up by a strong wedge shot from 85 yards.

The Aussie maintained a one-stroke lead over Furyk until No. 17.

"I played nicely," he said. "I didn't hit too many bad shots, just one on 17. Apart from that, I was pretty happy with it."

Weir stayed in the hunt and was just a stroke off the lead, but had a disastrous double bogey on the par-4 eighth. The lefty overshot the green with an 8-iron from 130 yards, landing in the bushes. He chipped on and two putted from 12 feet.

The Canadian two-putted from 18 feet for birdie on No. 13 and closed with five pars.

The gallery got an up-close view of the action. For the first time, spectators were allowed to walk the fairways behind the players while carrying a rope, creating a rolling wave of people.

Last year, Woods closed with an 8-under 64 to win by seven strokes over Mickelson, despite losing six pounds because of a stomach virus.

The winner Wednesday will earn $500,000 of the $1.25 million purse.

November 22, 2006

 




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