Love Red Hot in Round 1


CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- Davis Love III scorched the Castle Pines Golf Club Thursday for a tournament-record 10 birdies en route to 19 points and the lead with the opening round of The International suspended due to darkness. The tournament uses the modified Stableford scoring system.
Play was suspended due to darkness after there was nearly a two-hour weather delay late in the afternoon.
Charles Howell III notched seven birdies for his second place total of 14 points. Bob Tway and Jonathan Kaye share third place at 12.
In the modified Stableford scoring system, players receive two points for a birdie, five points for an eagle and eight points for a double eagle. Players lose one point for a bogey and three points for a double bogey or worse, with a par receiving a score of zero.
Love, playing in the afternoon group, burst out of the gate. He opened with a birdie at the first and followed that with a birdie at the second. Love made it three straight when he rolled in a birdie at the third, giving him six quick points.
The 1997 PGA Championship winner settled down to par the next three holes. Love then birdied at the seventh. He made it two in a row with another birdie at the eighth.
Around the turn, Love continued his outstanding play. He birdied the 12th and followed that with another birdie on No. 14. The three-time winner this year rolled home his eighth birdie of the round at the 15th, moving him two points ahead of Howell, the clubhouse leader.
'The weather delay was disappointing because I was playing well, but it didn't really affect me,' said Love. 'I came right back out and hit a good shot at 10 from the fairway right after the break and hit the green at 11, which is always good, and then made a birdie on 12. Sometimes it affects you. Sometimes it doesn't. But I am just glad we got it in. I think we're very fortunate.'
Love made his only mistake of the day at No. 16. He hit a bad 6-iron and that led to bogey. Love closed out his round in fine fashion however as he birdied each of the final two holes for a five-point lead.
Love's 19-point total was one point shy of the one-round record set by Greg Whisman in 1992, and tied by Tom Purtzer in 1997.
'I didn't know what the record was so I was trying to birdie every hole,' Love said. 'The wind was blowing in a little bit at 16 and my caddie, I think, really wanted me to hit a 5-iron and I wanted to try and kill a 6-iron. I didn't quite catch it. It got up there almost pin-high. I was trying to hit it so hard that I pushed it a little bit.'
Howell opened his round on the back nine Thursday, notching his first birdie at the par-3 11th. He then converted back-to-back birdies from the 16th to make the turn at six points.
The 2002 Michelob Championship winner notched consecutive birdies from the second to move to 10 points. Howell grabbed the clubhouse lead with birdies at the eighth and ninth to give him 14 points.
'I teed off early today which was important because there were pretty good scoring conditions,' said Howell. 'Any time you can go off early here you need to make a bunch of birdies. The greens were a bit softer this year than in years past. It's the softest I have ever seen them in my four years here.'
John Rollins stands alone in fifth place with 11 points. Chris Riley is one point behind, while Stuart Appleby, Steve Lowery, Geoff Ogilvy, Phillip Price and Mike Weir share seventh place with nine points. Lowery nearly won last year's event with an eagle and a double eagle in his last four holes, but his birdie try on the last hole just stayed out of the cup.
Rich Beem, the defending champion, struggled at the outset with two straight bogeys. He recovered to post five birdies, but also mixed in a bogey and closed with a double bogey for a total of four points. He shares 30th place with nine other players.
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