Three Share Lead at Southern Farm


MADISON, Miss. -- John Huston, Carlos Franco and Hidemichi Tanaka posted matching rounds of 6-under-par 66 at Annandale Golf Club on Thursday to share the lead after the first round of the Southern Farm Bureau Classic.
Patrick Sheehan collected three birdies, an eagle and no bogeys to finish one shot back at 5-under-par 67 along with David Edwards.
Huston bogeyed his first hole but he recovered with back-to-back birdies starting at the par-4 third. He then hit a 4-wood to five feet for an eagle at the par-5 seventh and added a birdie at the ninth to make the turn at minus-4.
'The eagle on No. 7 got me going,' said Huston, a six-time winner on the PGA Tour.
The 42-year-old birdied the 10th but found trouble with a bogey at the 12th. He got that shot back with a birdie at the 13th but stumbled again with a bogey at the very next hole.
Huston made a late charge and birdied each of his last two holes to join Franco and Tanaka in the lead.
'Overall I'm happy with the way I played,' said Huston. 'Even with three bogeys.'
Franco, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, picked up his first birdie of the day at the par-4 fourth. He knocked his third shot from the sand at the par-5 fifth within inches of the hole for another birdie and chipped his third shot to eight feet for a birdie at the par-5 seventh to make the turn at 3 under.
'Early putts for par on No. 1 and No. 2 gave me confidence,' said Franco. 'They kept me very patient.'
The native of Paraguay dropped his second inside a foot for a birdie at the 10th and ran home a 10-footer for a birdie at the par-4 16th.
At the par-5 18th, Franco hit a 2-iron to 15 feet and two-putted for a closing birdie.
'I enjoy playing here,' said Franco. 'I had a couple chances for birdie. My putter was good today.'
Tanaka stumbled out of the gate with a bogey at the first but he responded with birdies on each of his next two holes.
He landed his approach inside 10 feet for an eagle at the par-5 fifth and followed that up with three consecutive birdies to go out in 30.
The 32-year-old from Japan ran home a 20-foot putt for a birdie at the 10th to move to 7 under before cooling off down the stretch. Tanaka dropped a shot with a bogey at the 14th but countered with a birdie at the 15th.
Tanaka faltered again, however, with a bogey at the 16th to share the first-round lead with Franco.
Shigeki Maruyama, David Frost, Kent Jones, Jim McGovern, Brett Quigley and Paul Stankowski shared sixth place at 4-under-par 68.
Luke Donald, who earned his first career victory at this event last year when the tournament was cut to 54 holes due to weather, finished in a group at 3-under-par 69 that featured Presidents Cup player Tim Clark and Corey Pavin.
Related Links:
  • Southern Farm Bureau Classic Leaderboard
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