Watney Leads Singh Tiger Seven Back

By Sports NetworkJuly 28, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Buick OpenGRAND BLANC, Mich. -- Nick Watney fired an 8-under-par 64 on Thursday to take the lead after the first round of the Buick Open. Watney stands one stroke clear of defending champion Vijay Singh and Jason Bohn.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is seven back and in danger of missing the cut.
Jim Furyk, the 2003 champion, posted a 6-under-par 66. He shares fourth place with Mark Brooks, Neal Lancaster, Craig Barlow, Olin Browne and Geoff Ogilvy.
World No. 1 Tiger Woods returned to action for the first time since his win at St. Andrews two weeks ago. He opened with a 1-under-par 71. He parred his first eight holes, then birdied the 18th, his ninth. After a bogey at two, Woods got back to minus-1 with a birdie at the par-3 eighth.
Watney recorded a birdie on the first to quickly get into red figures. He came back with a 6-iron shot to 20 feet to set up birdie at the third. The Californian dropped a sand-wedge within 12 feet to set up birdie on the sixth to move to minus-3.
The 24-year-old made the turn at 4 under after draining an 18-foot birdie putt on the ninth. Watney knocked his third shot to 4 feet to set up birdie at No. 14 on Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club.
Watney dropped in another 4-foot birdie putt at 16 to get to minus-6. He came right back with a 20-foot birdie putt on the 17th.
Watney secured the outright lead with a 12-foot birdie putt at the last that closed out a bogey-free round. His second shot was remarkable as he blasted it through a bunch of trees.
'I hit not such a good drive and did not have a clear shot,' Watney said. 'So it was just a matter of hitting through the trees and the shot came out well and I was able to make the putt. I think when you shoot 7 or 8 under par, you definitely get some good breaks, and that was one of them.'
Singh drained a birdie putt at the first, but tripped to a bogey at the next. He then got hot with eight birdies over the next 12 holes.
The world's No. 2 player dropped in back-to-back birdies from the fourth. Singh then birdied seven and nine to head to the back nine at 4 under.
The Fijian made consecutive birdie putts from the 10th and again at the 14th to jump to minus-8. After a pair of pars, Singh stumbled to a bogey at the last to slip into a tie for second.
'The key was making good putts. I made some really good putts out there,' Singh said. 'This is a golf course where you need to hit the fairways. Once you hit the fairways, you have short irons at most of the flags and as soft as the greens are right now, you can fire at the flags and know it's going to stop.'
Bohn started on the back nine and picked up his first birdie at the 12th. He came right back with an eagle on 13. Bohn then birdied No. 14 to get to minus-4.
The 32-year-old made the turn at minus-5 after sinking a birdie putt on the 18th. Around the turn, Bohn birdied the second. He parred the next four holes before dropping in a birdie putt on the seventh.
'Just having a lot of fun playing golf now,' said Bohn. 'I think it's carrying over into the shots I'm hitting. I'm playing with a lot of confidence and I played really well today and I didn't make many mistakes.'
Paul Goydos and Glen Hnatiuk each posted rounds of 5-under-par 67. They are tied for 10th place with Frank Lickliter, Roland Thatcher, Tommy Armour III and Rod Pampling.
Fred Funk and Zach Johnson lead a group of 15 players one stroke further back at minus-4.
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