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SPORTS WEEKEND | GOLF ROUNDUP

Eight Tied for Honda Classic Lead

March 10, 2000|From Associated Press

Heron Bay's lone defender took a day off Thursday.

With little or no wind during the opening round of the Honda Classic, the Tournament Players Club at Heron Bay--known for its strong, steady winds--gave way to low scoring at Coral Springs, Fla.

Only 18 of the 144 players finished over par, with Mike Brisky, Brian Gay, Matt Gogel, Dudley Hart, J.P. Hayes, Brian Henninger, Skip Kendall and Paraguay's Carlos Franco shooting seven-under-par 65s to share the lead.

"I was surprised that the wind didn't come up a little bit more," Kendall said. "Our 18th hole played a bit into the wind, but virtually nothing compared to what it usually is. It's usually blowing 25, 30 mph here."

Eight players shot 66s, including Casey Martin, the first player to use a cart on tour. Martin has a rare circulatory condition in his right leg that makes it difficult for him to walk 18 holes.

He missed a 20-foot putt for birdie on No. 18 that would have put him in a tie for the lead. Nonetheless, it was his lowest-scoring round on tour.

"There is not a hill around, and that was about as pain-free a round as I've had in a long time," Martin said. "I played great, I really did. I just hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens and made some putts. It was as solid a round as I've played in a long time."

Only three of the top 10 players in the world rankings--Davis Love III (4), defending champion Vijay Singh (5) and Jim Furyk (9)--are participating in the Honda.

Love (69), Singh (70) and Furyk (68) are lurking just behind the leaders.

Putting well was a common theme among the leaders.

Brisky made six birdies in a row, tying the course record set by Fred Couples in 1985.

*

Eagles had never come in pairs before for Cristie Kerr, especially on the same side of a golf course.

Kerr, using new irons, eagled two of the last seven holes. She holed out from the fairway on the last to complete an eight-under 64 and open a two-shot after one round of the Welch's-Circle K Championship at Scottsdale, Ariz.

The 138-yard shot landed left and about six feet short of a difficult pin placement on the right side of the green, hopped once and rolled in for an eagle-2.

The dramatic finish on the 329-yard ninth hole, her finish after starting on the 10th tee, enabled Kerr to match her career-best round.

It also put daylight between her and 1999 rookie of the year, Mi Hyan Kim, who carded a 66.

Annika Sorenstam, Kristi Albers and Fiona Pike were three shots off the pace, with 10 players at 68.

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