Surprise Start for Daly

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Of all the names near the top of the leaderboard after the first day of The Players Championship, John Dalys might be the most surprising ' at least to him.
 
Ive never come here with confidence. Even when Im playing good, I never come here with confidence, Daly said after shooting 2-under 70, prior to the suspension of the first round.
 
Dalys score was his lowest in five years at the TPC at Sawgrass. He has only shot in the 60s five times in 29 career rounds.
 
When asked what about the Stadium Course causes him so much distress. He answered: All 18 holes.
 
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem saw Daly on Wednesday and inquired about his chances.
 
He said, You gonna play good tomorrow? and I said, Well, I'm going to try and beat my average out here, which is right around 80.5, Daly told.
 
Its not quite that bad. Its actually a scant less than 74. Hes made the cut only four times in 11 previous appearances. Hes been particularly poor out of the gates, shooting over par eight times in the first round.
 
Its nice to finally get off to a decent start out here, he said.
 
Should he, by some 'miracle,' win this week, Daly would qualify for The Masters, which he has played nine of the last 11 years.
 
I hate missing The Masters,' he said. 'I think every player's dream is to play there, and win there. The more times you go around it, the better chance you have to play well. I feel like Im missing out when Im not there.
 
Galleries love Daly because of his power off the tee, but its his accuracy that gets him into trouble at Sawgrass. He hit only six of 14 fairways in the first round. Still, he was fortunate to hit all but five greens in regulation.
 
Ive always struggled off the tee box here because I have a tough time trying to find something to aim at, he said. And Im never really sure what Im going to hit, day-to-day, on each hole. The wind changes so much, and the holes play so different ' like 7, in the practice round I hit driver, L-wedge in there; today I hit driver, 6-iron.
 
Another problem has been patience. In as much as hes known for his power, his tendency to post an 83 ' like he did here in the first round in 1999 ' is also part of his Bunyanesque reputation.
 
I think I am (trying to be) a little more patient on this golf course. But any given hole you can hit a decent shot and walk off with an 8, he said.
 
He attributes part of that maturation to current events.
 
I just realize there is nothing to worry about. Im like everybody else; Im more worried about our troops over (in Iraq) right now,' he said.
 
All Ive done now is try -- if I have a bad round or a good day, try and figure out what I did good on both those days.
 
Daly played one of his best rounds here despite being a bit under the weather. He is recovering from a cold that he got while playing in the final round at Bay Hill under a steady rain.
 
I put a little Red Bull (energy drink) in me this morning which helped, he said. Ive never felt comfortable on the golf course. But Im feeling better.
 
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