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Sabbatini Rolls to Head of Field

May 23, 2003|Thomas Bonk | Times Staff Writer

FORT WORTH — Meanwhile, seven shots ahead of Annika Sorenstam, Rory Sabbatini claimed the first-round lead at the Bank of America Colonial tournament, just not the spotlight.

Sabbatini's six-under-par 64 on a rain-softened Colonial layout Thursday was good enough for a one-shot lead over Mark Calcavecchia and Patrick Sheehan. Dan Forsman and Jesper Parnevik are two shots behind.

Sabbatini, a 27-year-old South African whose lone PGA Tour victory was three years ago at the Air Canada Championship, had seven birdies and one bogey.

There were 53 players in the field of 113 who shot under par on opening day.

Phil Mickelson and Duffy Waldorf lead a group of 16 who are jammed at three-under 67.

Sabbatini, who hasn't been higher than 28th in a PGA Tour event since February, hit five fairways and 10 greens but needed only 23 putts. Afterward, he credited the correct club.

"I've found a putter that feels good and I'm comfortable with it," Sabbatini said. "Hopefully, it's going to be in my bag for a long time."

Calcavecchia made the most of his round, despite a bad wrist that he hurt last week during the Byron Nelson tournament. He said he has no problem with Sorenstam playing this week.

"It's just a sporting event," Calcavecchia said. "It's not like she's robbing a bank or something. I don't think any of the guys here feel threatened that she's trying to take money out of our pockets. So it's really not that big a deal. It's great publicity for Colonial and Bank of America."

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