Woods two strokes in back of Jones at Buick Open

Posted: Friday, August 09, 2002

GRAND BLANC, Mich. -- Smiles outnumbered sighs, unlike the last time Tiger Woods played a competitive round with good friend Mark O'Meara.

Woods, in his first tournament since his Grand Slam chances ended at the British Open, shot a 5-under 67 Thursday and was two strokes behind first-round leader Kent Jones at the Buick Open. Mark Brooks and K.J. Choi shot 66s.

O'Meara shot a 68 to join 13 players, including defending PGA Championship winner David Toms, at 4 under.

The last time Woods and O'Meara were in the same group at a tournament was the third round of last month's British Open.

On that unforgettable Saturday, Woods shot an 81 -- his worst score as a professional -- and saw his chances of making history end after becoming the first player since Jack Nicklaus in 1972 to win the Masters and U.S. Open, the first two legs of the Grand Slam.

''The last time we played together wasn't exactly a great day,'' Woods said with a grin.

Enough time has passed for O'Meara to also be able to joke about it.

''I beat him,'' said O'Meara, who shot a 77 that day at the British Open.

Woods, who was in a group of nine that included Hal Sutton, started solid and finished strong with two birdies in his last three holes. His iron play was excellent, but his putting was inconsistent.

Woods, making his third PGA Tour start in 11 weeks, is competing while preparing for the PGA Championship at Hazeltine in Minnesota, where he will attempt to become the first golfer to win three majors in one year twice.

Woods and O'Meara played a practice round at Hazeltine on Tuesday and on Thursday, they looked like they were still practicing.

They laughed and joked on tees, fairways, greens and between holes.

Woods, who is usually all-business during a tournament, was asked if he enjoyed himself.

''Oh God, yes,'' he said. ''We play so many rounds together. We chitchat and give each other a hard time. Sometimes it can be a disadvantage because you get chatting so much that you forget that you're playing.

''But it's nice to talk about things like fishing and other things we're doing.''

Women's British Open

TURNBERRY, Scotland -- Rookie Candie Kung of Taiwan shot a 7-under 65 in perfect conditions to take a one-stroke lead over Karrie Webb after the first round of the Women's British Open.

Kung, celebrating her 21st birthday, birdied four of the last five holes in a bogey-free round on the Turnberry links.

Webb, the Australian star seeking her third victory in the event, opened with a 66, and defending champion Se Ri Pak of South Korea was two strokes back.

Wales Open

NEWPORT, Wales -- South Africa's James Kingston and Australia's Richard Green shot 7-under 65s to share the first-round lead in the Wales Open.

European Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance of Scotland and Welchman Bradley Dredge were a stroke back. Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke opened with a 68, and defending champion Paul McGinley of Ireland had a 69.

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