Bay Hill plays easy on first day

Posted: Friday, March 19, 2004

ORLANDO, Fla. Soft greens and benign conditions must have made players wonder if they were really at the Bay Hill Invitational on Thursday. All it took was Tiger Woods near the lead to remind them.

Trying to become the first player on any tour to win the same tournament five straight times, Woods got off to a solid start by missing only one fairway in a round of 5-under 67 that left him one shot out of the lead.

Chad Campbell and Darren Clarke each navigated Bay Hill without a bogey in their rounds of 66, while Shigeki Maruyama joined them late in the afternoon when the greens became slightly firmer.

John Daly also joined the chase, returning from a freak hand accident to shoot a 68.

Ernie Els, in his first PGA Tour event since winning the Sony Open, opened with a 73. Tournament host Arnold Palmer received ovations at every turn, despite an 88, his highest score ever.

Safeway International

SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN, Ariz. Michelle Wie got the attention, while Kim Saiki collected the birdies in the opening round of the Safeway International.

Saiki, never a winner in 12 years on the LPGA Tour, shot a career-low 8-under 64 for a three-shot lead over Annika Sorenstam and defending champion Se Ri Pak. Donna Andrews and Jennifer Rosales joined Sorenstam and Pak at 67.

By far the largest gallery belonged to Wie, with hundreds following the, 6-foot, 14-year-old Hawaiian around the sun-baked Superstition Mountain Golf Club course.

The crowd agonized as Wie, making the first of six LPGA starts this year, shot an even-par 72 that could easily have been a 69.

Caltex Masters

SINGAPORE (AP) New Zealand's Eddie Lee was 8 under with one hole to play in the suspended first round of the Caltex Masters.

France's Thomas Levet and Australia's Peter Fowler opened with 5-under 67s to share the clubhouse lead in the European tour event. A thunderstorm delayed play for 2 1/2 hours and darkness forced the suspension of play with 57 players still on the course.

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