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GOLF : Stewart's 70 Leads by One on a Windy Day in New Orleans

April 02, 1993|From Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — For Payne Stewart, the biggest break of Thursday's opening round of the $1-million Freeport-McMoRan Golf Classic was an early tee time.

Stewart was already on the ninth hole by the time the wind accelerated to storm strength, giving him only nine more holes to battle the gale and allowing him to post the best score of the day, a two-under-par 70, and a one-stroke lead.

"It was a very good score under the conditions," Stewart said. "Playing in a hard wind you need to be hitting the ball solid and I hit it solid today."

Two other early starters, Mike Standly and Duffy Waldorf, shot 71s, and Ed Fiori and Bill Kratzert had 71s in the afternoon.

"That's the best I could do out there," Fiori said. "It was hard to stand up, let alone hit your driver or chip or putt."

Jack Nicklaus designed the 7,116-yard English Turn course to test the best players, and the wind on made the round even more challenging.

By late afternoon, winds gusting to 35 m.p.h. whipped up the ponds and flapped flags like hurricane banners.

"It was extremely difficult," Scott Hoch said after shooting a 72. "You can make good shots in a wind like this and they don't end up very good. It really wears you down. The wind was blowing when I started. It was blowing even harder when I finished."

Greg Norman had a 77, the same as Ben Crenshaw, who had a double bogey on No. 7 and a triple bogey on No. 10. Nick Faldo and David Frost were at six-over 78.

Defending champion Chip Beck shot a 79.

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