Davis takes the lead, with Tiger lurking

Posted: Friday, February 18, 2005


  Tiger Woods watches his drive on the 12th hole of Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles during the first round of the Nissan Open Thursday, Feb. 17, 2005. AP Photo/Reed Saxon

Tiger Woods watches his drive on the 12th hole of Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles during the first round of the Nissan Open Thursday, Feb. 17, 2005.

AP Photo/Reed Saxon

LOS ANGELES — The shifting wind and gloomy rain gave the Nissan Open a distinctively British feel Thursday.

So did the leaderboard.

Two months after finally earning his PGA Tour card by winning Q-school, Brian Davis of England opened with an eagle and finished with eight straight pars on his way to a 6-under 65 for the early lead at dreary Riviera Country Club.

Luke Donald of England and Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland were among those one shot behind.

Donald was tied for the lead until landing in a divot just short of a fairway bunker, going into a greenside bunker and making bogey on his last hole. Clarke had one of many highlights at Riviera with his 7-iron that skirted the edge of the bunker in the middle of the par-3 sixth green, then rolled down the slope and into the cup for an ace.

Brett Quigley made a birdie on the 18th and also shot a 66.

Two-time defending champion Mike Weir was at 5 under until finding a bunker on his final hole and making bogey, dropping him into a large group at 67. Still, it was a solid start in his bid to become the first player to win the Nissan Open three straight years.

Tiger Woods should have no complaints, either.

Despite three-putting for bogey three times, Woods managed a 67 for his best start ever in his hometown tournament, which has given him fits like no other. The Nissan Open is the only PGA Tour event he has played at least four times without winning.

Woods needs to finish no worse than fourth to return to No. 1 in the world.

He wasn't all that impressed with his start.

''I putted like a fool today,'' Woods said. ''It was an absolutely horrific day on the greens. I probably could have shot an 8 under par with not too much effort.''

The first round was suspended by darkness with four players still on the course.

The effort was figuring out the weather. The wind changed direction when the morning starters were about halfway through their rounds, then gave way to a cool, steady rain the rest of the afternoon.

''We played the front nine into the wind, so we thought, 'That's handy; we would make the turn and play it downwind.' And the wind switched and came straight back at us,'' Davis said. ''It's a lot like playing links golf back home.''

Malaysian Open

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Defending champion Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand shot an 8-under 64 to take a three-stroke lead in the rain-suspended first round of the PGA European Tour's Malaysian Open.

Last year, Thongchai became the first Thai winner on the European tour.

Australia's Jarrod Moseley, Italy's Emanuele Canonica of Italy and Swedes Pelle Edberg and Niclas Fasth, last week's New Zealand Open champion, shot 67s.

Forty-five players were unable to complete the round.

The tournament is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour.

Jacob's Creek Open

ADELAIDE, Australia — American Cliff Kresge and Australia's Steven Bowditch shot 5-under 67s to share the lead in the Nationwide Tour's Jacob's Creek Open.

Kresge had an eagle, six birdies and three bogeys on the historic Royal Adelaide course in the event co-sanctioned by the Australasian tour.

Left-hander Greg Chalmers, the 1998 Australian Open winner at Royal Adelaide, was a stroke back along with Australian countryman Craig Jones.

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