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Lonard shoots stellar round at MCI Heritage

Posted: Friday, April 15, 2005

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Peter Lonard flirted with a 59 and finished with a two-stroke lead after Thursday's opening round of the MCI Heritage.

The 9-under 62 was one shot off the tournament record and brought some life to an event that doesn't have Masters champion Tiger Woods and his Big Four buddies.

Lonard was two strokes ahead of Thomas Levet, who birdied six of his last eight holes to shoot a 64. Darren Clarke was at 65 with Patrick Sheehan another stroke back.

Lonard, a 37-year-old Australian in his fourth season on tour, didn't look capable of a landmark round after opening with a bogey. But he made 11 birdies over the next 15 holes to take the lead and briefly flirt with golf's magic number.

He was 10 under after a birdie on No. 16 and put his tee shot on the difficult par-3 17th 15 feet from the pin. A birdie there would have let him go for 59 with a birdie on the famous closing lighthouse hole.

When Lonard walked onto the 17th tee, ''I thought I've got to birdie the last two holes basically,'' he said. ''Up until 17, I didn't really think about it at all.''

Lonard came a foot short on the tricky downhill putt to make the birdie and failed to join Al Geiberger, Chip Beck and David Duval in the group with the only 59s on the PGA Tour.

The chase over, Lonard ended things with his second bogey on 18.

Still, Lonard's lowest tour round ever tied Davis Love III for the best opening-day score at the Heritage. He came a stroke from David Frost's 11-year-old record of 61 at Harbour Town Golf Links.

Takefuji Classic

LAS VEGAS — Karrie Webb shot a 7-under 65 for a share of the lead at the Takefuji Classic with Wendy Ward.

Amateur In-Bee Park, a native of South Korea who is a 16-year-old high school junior in Las Vegas, shot a 66 that left her in a group one shot behind the co-leaders.

Wendy Doolan had consecutive eagles on her way to a 66. Catriona Matthew and Mi Hyun Kim also are a shot back.

Defending champion Cristie Kerr opened with a 72.

Spanish Open

SOTOGRANDE, Spain — Spaniards Jose Rivero, Santiago Luna and Diego Borrego were among seven players to shoot 2-under 70 and share the first-round lead at the Spanish Open.

Also near the top of leaderboard on the hilly San Roque course at the Spanish Open were Peter Hanson and Peter Gustafsson of Sweden, Emanuele Canonica of Italy and Steven O'Hara of Scotland.

Another six players were one shot off the lead.

Ireland's Paul McGinley, the highest-ranked player in the field, shot a 76 after a double-bogey 7 on his first hole.



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