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FARMINGTON, Pa. -- Gavin Coles and Donnie Hammond each posted rounds of 7-under-par 65 Thursday to share the first-round lead of the 84 Lumber Classic of Pennsylvania.
Brent Schwarzrock, Grant Waite and Michael Clark II share third place after opening rounds of 6-under-par 66.
Coles opened on the second nine Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa and ran home a 35-footer for birdie at the 10th. He reached the green in two at the par-5 16th and two-putted for birdie from 20 feet. Coles made it two in a row with a 45-footer at 17 and polished off his front nine with a six-foot birdie at the 18th.
Coles was not as hot on the front nine as he collected five pars out of the gate. At the sixth, Coles hit a 7-iron to 10 feet, then birdied the par-3 seventh. He closed out his round with a six-footer for birdie at the par-5 eighth.
'I just went out there and tried to do the best I could today,' said Coles, a 34-year-old from Australia. 'Seven birdies, no bogeys - that's quite unusual. My rounds usually have a few bogeys in them.'
At the beginning of the 2003 campaign, Coles' rounds had more than a few bogeys. He missed the first 13 cuts to open the season and didn't make the weekend until the Greater Milwaukee Open in July.
'I've been playing so badly,' admitted Coles. 'It wasn't that I expected to go and shoot 6 or 7 under. I knew if I kept playing, hitting it in the fairway, hitting on the green, it was going to come.'
Hammond wasted little time in going into red figures as he canned a seven- footer for birdie. He parred the next three holes but birdied the fifth from 15 feet and the seventh from the same distance to make the turn at 3-under 33.
At the par-5 11th, Hammond sank a 30-footer to go to 4 under then made birdie two holes later. He drained a 12-footer for birdie at the 14th then birdied the par-5 16th to match Coles in first place.
'The greens were soft and they had a few tees out there moved up a little bit,' said Hammond. 'Like on the second hole, it was into the wind. Some days, it plays easy. It's not going to dry out any more this week, so it's probably going to be able to make it tougher by sticking the pins a little closer to the sides.'
Hurricane Isabel is scheduled to hit around the Pittsburgh area Thursday evening. Most players don't believe there will be any action on Friday so they are trying to find way to pass the time.
'Just find a bowling alley and a good bar somewhere,' said Hammond. 'Is there a bowling alley somewhere within 50 miles of here?'
Two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen, Mike Standly, Luke Donald, Cameron Beckman, Tim Petrovic, Brett Quigley, Pat Bates, Craig Barlow, Jerry Kelly, Robert Damron, Tom Pernice, Jr., David Frost, David Peoples and Scott Laycock share sixth place at 5-under-par 67.
Jesper Parnevik, Mark O'Meara and Rocco Mediate are part of a group a stroke behind at minus-4.
Ben Curtis, the 2003 British Open winner, and U.S. Ryder Cup captain Hal Sutton are in a logjam at 3 under par. Chris DiMarco, the only player in the top 20 on the PGA Tour money list in the field, opened with a 2-under 70.
Related Links:
  • 84 Lumber Classic Leaderboard
  • Full Coverage - 84 Lumber Classic