Tiger Chasing Trio In China


European TourPaul Lawrie, the 1999 British Open winner, fired an 8-under-par 64 on Thursday to grab a share of the lead after the opening round of the HSBC Champions Tournament. Lawrie was joined in the lead by Nick Dougherty and Peter O'Malley.
World No. 1 Tiger Woods posted 10 birdies to go along with three bogeys en route to opening with a 7-under-par 65 at Sheshan International Golf Club.
Colin Montgomerie
Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie got off to a rough start in Shanghai.
He was joined in a tie for fourth place by K.J. Choi, Robert-Jan Derksen and David Howell. U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell and Kenneth Ferrie are one stroke back at minus-6.
World No. 2 Vijay Singh posted a 5-under-par 67 to open the event.
This is the first event of the 2006 European Tour International schedule. The event features winners from four sanctioned tours -- the European Tour, the Asian Tour, the PGA of Australasia and the Sunshine Tour -- in addition to players ranked in the world's top-50 and invitations from the China Golf Federation.
Woods played the back nine first at Sheshan and started with a pair of pars, his last two pars for 10 holes. He ran off three straight birdies from the 12th to get into red figures.
The reigning Masters and British Open champion bogeyed the 15th, but came right back with a 12-foot birdie putt on the 16th. Woods sank an eight-footer for birdie on 17, then got up and down for birdie on 18 to turn in 5-under.
Woods was not done either. He sank a seven-foot birdie putt at the first, then two-putted for birdie on two to get to 7-under and close a run of five straight birdies. Woods birdied the fifth, but three-putted for bogey at the next.
The 29-year-old chipped in front of the fringe on the par-5 eighth for birdie, but a poor tee shot on nine led to a closing bogey.
'I've never seen anything like it,' said Woods of his tee shot on the ninth. 'It was unbelievable. I hit a 3-wood into the middle of the bunker and buried it. That's not something I'm used to seeing -- not off the tee.'
Lawrie started his round with three pars in a row. The Scotsman birdied four of the next five holes to make the turn at minus-4. He kept rolling with birdies on 10 and 12.
The 36-year-old got within one stroke of the lead as he birdied the par-5 14th. Lawrie ended with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 closing hole to share the lead.
Dougherty ran off three straight birdies at the start of his round. He came back with birdies on the fifth and eighth to turn at minus-5. The Englishman birdied the 10th before parring seven holes in a row. Dougherty eagled the last to end at 8-under.
'It would be a dream scenario to have a crack at him on Sunday,' said Dougherty of Woods. 'It would be fantastic. I would love it. I idolize Tiger. He's everything I want to be.'
O'Malley played the back nine first on Thursday. He posted just one birdie over his first five holes. The Australian caught fire from there however.
He birdied the final three holes of the back nine to make the turn at minus-4. O'Malley continued to roll on the front nine with a birdie on the first.
The 40-year-old birdied each of the next three holes to make it seven straight birdies. That moved him to minus-eight. O'Malley parred his final five holes to share the first-round lead.
Singh was joined in a tie for 10th place at minus-5 by Thongchai Jaidee, Nick O'Hern, Ian Poulter, Thaworn Wiratchant, Lian-Wei Zhang, Thomas Bjorn and Paul Casey.
Colin Montgomerie, who won his eighth European Tour Order of Merit crown with his tie for third place at the Volvo Masters, struggled playing alongside Woods. The Scotsman posted a 2-over-par 74.
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