Waldorf in crowd atop Hope Classic leaderboard

Posted: Thursday, January 27, 2005

LA QUINTA, Calif. — Duffy Waldorf rolled in eight birdie putts, didn't make a bogey and still had lots of company atop the leaderboard.

Waldorf's 8-under 64 in Wednesday's opening round of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic was only good enough to put him in a five-way tie for the lead.

Fred Funk, Robert Damron, Ted Purdy and Joe Ogilvie also opened the five-day tournament with 64s.

Fred Couples, the 1998 champion, had a 65 and was in another group of five in the desert tournament where scores traditionally go extremely low.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson, who also won the event in 2002, shot a 66 and was tied with six others.

Only 13 of the 128 players went over par over the first 18 holes of the 90-hole event.

Mike Weir, the 2003 Hope champion, opened with a 71. Although a decent round in most tournaments, it left him tied for 93rd.

The players rotate among four courses for the first four days of the pro-am, then the low 70 pros and ties play the final round at PGA West on Sunday.

Waldorf, looking for his first win in almost five years, began his round at PGA West by rolling in a 6-foot birdie putt on the first hole, then finished it with a fine shot out of the bunker and a 4-foot birdie putt on the final hole.

He was deadly accurate with his irons most of the day, usually leaving him within close birdie range.

''Accuracy and good putting for me today,'' Waldorf said. ''I putted the best I've putted this year, really had good pace on the ball and was reading the greens well."

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