Micheel Maruyama Tied at Riviera

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PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Reigning PGA champion Shaun Micheel and Shigeki Maruyama each posted rounds of 7-under-par 64 Thursday to share the opening-round lead of the Nissan Open at Riviera Country Club.
 
The first round was suspended due to darkness with a few groups remaining on the course. Those players will return Friday to finish off the first round.
 
Tiger Woods, who competed in his first PGA Tour event as a 16-year-old at the Nissan Open, struggled to a 1-over 72. He is part of a group tied for 77th place.
 
Woods flew out of the gate with a birdie at No. 1, but missed the green short at the fourth and made bogey. He missed the fairway at No. 5 and his 8-iron came up short. Woods could not get up and down and was 1-over for his round.
 
The No. 1 player in golf pulled his second shot left of the putting surface at the seventh and made another bogey. He let birdie tries slide by at eight and 10, but holed a clutch eight-footer for par at the ninth.
 
Woods took advantage of his length at Riviera at the par-5 11th. He came up just short of the green with a 2-iron but got up and down for his second birdie.
 
Woods parred out and will need a strong round on Friday to extend his PGA Tour record for consecutive cuts made to 117.
 
Hank Kuehne is in third place after an opening-round 65. Defending champion Mike Weir carded a 5-under 66 and is tied for fourth place with Scott McCarron and former winners Fred Couples, Robert Allenby and Kirk Triplett.
 
Micheel, who played with Maruyama in the first round, opened on the back nine and drained a 10-footer for birdie at the 12th and a 20-footer at the next. At the par-3 16th, Micheel stuffed a 9-iron inside three feet for his third birdie of the round.
 
The current holder of the Wanamaker Trophy continued his fine play on the front nine. He reached the green in two with a 5-wood at the par-5 first, then ran home the 30-footer for eagle.
 
Micheel three-putted the fifth green for a bogey but he rebounded. He rolled in a pair of eight-foot birdie putts at the sixth and seventh and made it three in a row with a 20-footer at No. 8.
 
Micheel had a chance to distance himself from Maruyama and the rest of the field at the ninth. He left himself with eight feet for birdie but missed the putt and ended up tied atop the leaderboard.
 
'I'm very happy with the way things went today, outside of missing a couple of short ones,' said Micheel. 'Hey, you can't make them all and I made some putts out there that I probably shouldn't have.'
 
Micheel has posted only one top-15 finish since breaking through with his major triumph. He shared 13th place at the season-opening Mercedes Championships, but is starting to come to grips with being a major champion.
 
'I think I'm pretty grounded,' said Micheel. 'I'm learning. I don't know what it takes to be a star. I don't know if I have that quality. I would like to improve my game and be a lot more consistent of a player.'
 
Maruyama wasted little time in going into red figures with a birdie at the par-5 11th. He landed in a bunker off the tee at 15, then went over the green with his approach. Maruyama chipped to three feet, but missed the par save to fall to even-par on his round.
 
After the mishap at 15, Maruyama went on a birdie run. He sank a pair of putts inside 10 feet for birdies at 16 and 17, respectively, followed by a 45-foot birdie putt at the 18th. Maruyama two-putted for birdie from 30 feet at the first to make it four in a row.
 
Maruyama parred the next five holes, but polished off his round with another birdie streak. At the seventh, he knocked a 6-iron to four feet and used the same club at the next hole but this time his ball landed 35 feet from the hole. He sank that putt and holed an eight-footer for birdie at the last to join his playing partner in first.
 
'My irons and putting were very good today,' said Maruyama, who has won an event on tour for the last three seasons. 'Everything was good today. Since last week I have been playing very well.'
 
Maruyama tied for fourth last week at the Buick Invitational.
 
John Daly, one week removed from his first PGA Tour victory since the 1995 British Open, carded a 3-under 68 and is part of a group tied for 13th.
 
Jeff Maggert, Joe Ogilvie and Woody Austin are tied in the clubhouse at 4-under 67. Russ Cochran is also 4-under-par and has played 16 holes of his first round.
 
Vijay Singh, whose run of 12 consecutive top-10 finishes was snapped last week when he missed the cut at the Buick Invitational, posted an even-par 71 and is part of a logjam tied for 56th. Also in that group is David Toms, who is playing for the first time in 2004 after a wrist injury.
 
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