Crowded House Five Tied at Bob Hope


2007 Bob Hope Chrysler ClassicPALM DESERT, Calif. -- Football has halftime. Golf usually doesn't.
Tim Petrovic and his amateur partners had some down time at the turn during Wednesday's opening round of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. He finished with a 7-under 65 that left him in a five-way tie at the top, a group that included 2001 champion Joe Durant.
Petrovic, who began the day on No. 10, shot 31 over his first nine holes.
'And then we had halftime,' he joked. 'Let's see, the Super Bowl halftime is 20 minutes and ours was about 40 minutes.'
So he went into the clubhouse, read the newspaper and 'Sat on the porch and waited for the four groups to tee off, and then we were ready to go the second nine.'
He parred the next hole, had his lone bogey of the day on No. 2, and went to finish his final nine holes with a 34.
Mathew Goggin, Shigeki Maruyama, and Omar Uresti also opened with 65s. Among those one stroke off the pace were Kenny Perry, Lee Jansen, Robert Gamez and Steve Elkington.
Four of the leaders played at the Classic Club, and Uresti played at PGA West.
The first four days of the Hope are a pro-am played at four courses. Sunday's final round, with the 70 low-scoring pros and ties, will be at the Classic Club.
Since the pros are grouped with amateurs the first four days, play is slow and rounds sometimes take six hours or so.
Petrovic said some of the tour players don't enter the tournament because they don't like the pro-am format, which he considers to have both good and bad points.
'I've made a lot of friends, met a lot of interesting people,' he said. 'I've met some celebrities. There are a lot of things, a lot of pluses that come out of it. Try to look at the pluses instead of the negatives.
'The round is going to be a little slower, but you're playing the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and that's just part of the week.'
Durant, who won the Hope in record fashion seven years ago, had a pair of eagles on the opening day of the 90-hole tournament this time.
Conditions were good, sunny with not much wind, for the opening round. Last year, the tournament was marked by chilly weather and gusting wind.
Durant set the tournament record with a total of 36-under 324, good for a four-shot win.
'It seems like a long time, it really does,' the 33-year-old Durant said.
Asked if he was on his way to another 36 under, he smiled and said, 'Oh, gosh. I don't even know how to respond to that one. I would just like to get to 8 under tomorrow at some point. It's such a long tournament.
'I'm just glad to have one good round under my belt. But it's a marathon and you have to treat it like that.'
Defending champion Charley Hoffman shot a 68. He played at SilverRock Resort, a course being used in the Hope for the first time.
Back in the pack, Fred Couples shot 69, John Daly 71, and David Duval 73. Duval matched the PGA TOUR record with a closing 59 to win the Hope in 1999.
Comedian George Lopez, the tournament host, explained some of his secrets to playing winning golf: 'If I get to the ball first, I have a perfect lie every time. And I carry a pocket of Lifesavers, so when I get in the trap, I drop a Lifesaver under the ball like a little tee, and when I hit it, it explodes. No evidence. Fresh breath, lower handicap. ... Players at PGA West had an unusual hazard on No. 15: a herd of Bighorn sheep grazing in the fairway under the elevated tee. The golfers simply hit the ball over their heads while they continued to munch. But when the players came down into the fairway, the sheep scampered back to the hills alongside the course.
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