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SPORTS WEEKEND | GOLF ROUNDUP

Flesch, Maggert Sail Into MCI Classic Lead

April 16, 1999| From Associated Press

Steve Flesch and Jeff Maggert fired 6-under-par 65s on Thursday to share the first-round lead in the $2.5 million MCI Classic at the wind swept Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Per-Ulrik Johansson, Steve Pate, Scott Hoch and John Cook were a shot back at 66. Defending champion and four-time MCI Classic winner Davis Love III was three strokes off the pace.

Tiger Woods, playing in his first MCI Classic, notched a 1-under-par 70 while Greg Norman, in contention until the last few holes of last week's Masters, double-bogeyed consecutive holes on the front nine for a 3-over-par 74.

Wind swept along the three Harbour Town holes facing Calibogue Sound and swirled around the mossy oaks that shelter the rest of the 6,916-yard layout.

The 18th, leading to the famous Harbour Town lighthouse, was downwind--"down hurricane," said Flesch, last year's tour rookie of the year.

"This afternoon it was really whipping and made those exposed holes that much more difficult," Cook said. "It was tough."

"When it is windy like this, it is very difficult to tell the direction," said Maggert, who won $1 million earlier this year in the WGC-Andersen Consulting Match Play Championship but didn't make the Masters cut.

"The greens are very small, so it's tough to hit the greens when the wind is blowing like this," he said. "I was a little surprised. I thought the scores were pretty good this morning."

The two low scores came during the morning round.

The holes facing the sound are like links courses and the wind can be judged, Johansson said. "But on the 15 other holes, it is in the trees," with the wind swirling.

Flesch said he hoped the round would mean a change in his fortunes. The fates have not been kind to him in recent weeks. First his clubs were stolen in Phoenix and then, about six weeks ago, he fell at home, injuring his elbow.

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Jose Maria Canizares might be ready to continue Spain's success in American golf.

Playing in his third PGA Seniors' Championship, Canizares fired a 4-under-par 68 and trailed Bruce Summerhays by two shots after the first round at the PGA National Golf Club in Pam Beach Gardens, Fla.

"I will try very hard this week, but I try every week," said Canizares, 52, a native of Madrid. "I am happy for Jose Marie Olazabal and for Sergio Garcia."

Just last Sunday, Olazabal won the Masters for the second time in six years and Garcia, a teenager, was the low amateur. Both are from Spain.

"It was very good for Spain and for European golf," Canizares said.

Summerhays, twice a winner on the Senior PGA Tour, played bogey-free golf with three birdies on each nine to take the lead at 66 on the 6,754-yard Champion course.

Tied at 69 were John Jacobs, Bob Dickson and Terry Dill. Jacobs has won twice on the senior tour, Dickson and Dill once each. None has a top-10 finish in the PGA Seniors' Championship.

Bruce Fleisher, who won his first two starts on the senior tour in February, was among four players at 70. Lee Trevino, the winner here in 1992 and 1994, led a group of eight at 71.

Hale Irwin, the three-time defending champion, opened at 3-over 75, his highest score in 13 PGA Seniors rounds on the Champion.

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