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Appleby Applies Full Nelson

IRVING, Texas -- Stuart Appleby fired a 7-under-par 63 on Thursday to lead Ernie Els, John Daly and Brett Wetterich by a single stroke after the opening round of the EDS Byron Nelson Championship.
Vijay Singh and Ernie Els
Vijay Singh shot 2-under 68, while Ernie Els shot 6-under 64 Thursday.
Steve Lowery, Ted Purdy and Omar Uresti were two shots off the pace at 5-under-par 65.
World No. 1 Tiger Woods had a couple of bogeys in his opening round at the TPC at Four Seasons Resort, but an eagle at the par-5 seventh and a birdie at the par-4 18th were enough to salvage a 1-under-par 69 in a group that features Phil Mickelson.
'The frustrating thing is I hit so many quality putts that just ran over the edge,' said Woods, who won this event in 1997. 'If I felt yippy or twitchy out there, it would be a different story, but I felt good.'
Play is split over the TPC at Four Seasons Resort and Cottonwood Valley Golf Course over the first two rounds with the TPC at Four Seasons Resort taking over for the final two rounds. Appleby played the TPC layout first and jumped out of the gate with birdies on each of his first two holes.
Appleby drained a 25-foot putt for a birdie at the par-4 fourth, but gave that shot back with a bogey at the par-4 sixth after he missed the green with his approach. Appleby recovered with a birdie at the following hole, however, and hit his second shot to 4 feet for a birdie at the par-4 ninth.
The Australian carried his fine play onto the back nine and knocked his approach inside 15 feet for a birdie at the par-4 11th. Appleby then landed his tee shot within 10 feet of the hole for a birdie at the par-3 13th to get to 6 under.
At the par-3 17th, Appleby played his tee shot to 9 feet and converted the birdie try to secure the outright lead.
'I played okay last week, didn't really seem to get much out of my golf and I didn't putt very well,' said Appleby, who missed the cut at the Wachovia Championship. 'I putted quite poorly, but today I managed to aim the putter in a better direction than what I was aiming it all askew last week.'
Daly played Cottonwood Valley and picked up his first birdie of the day at the par-4 third. Daly added back-to-back birdies from the par-4 sixth and collected the first of three straight birdies at the 10th to vault to minus-6.
The 39-year-old powered his second shot to 8 feet at the par-5 16th. Daly missed his eagle try, however, but tapped in for a birdie. He stumbled coming home with a bogey at the last to finish one shot back.
'Everything was just solid,' said Daly, who lost in a playoff to Vijay Singh three weeks ago at the Houston Open. 'Hit my irons good, putted good, just hit a lot of fairways, too, which kind of helps. Over at Cottonwood you hit a lot of fairways there, you can score pretty good. There's a lot of wedges into the green.'
Els took on the TPC at Four Seasons Resort on Thursday and rolled in a 23-footer for a birdie at the first. Els then birdied the fourth and tallied two consecutive birdies starting at the seventh to climb to 4 under.
The South African hit his tee shot to 14 feet for a birdie at the par-3 13th and added a birdie at the par-5 16th to join Daly in a tie for second.
'I want to play better over here,' said Els, who opened his 2005 season on the PGA Tour with three top-10 finishes but has cracked the top-20 only once in his last three starts in the United States. 'I'll be back at the end of the month and three weeks in June, so I'd like to play better.'
Wetterich birdied the par-4 18th at the TPC at Four Seasons Resort to complete his round of 64.
Nick Price, Gavin Coles, Harrison Frazar, Todd Fischer, Ian Leggatt, Glen Day, Sean O'Hair, Cameron Beckman, Jason Hartwick and Paul Gow share eighth place at 4-under-par 66.
Singh, last week's Wachovia Championship winner collected seven birdies and five bogeys on the TPC at Four Seasons Resort to finish in a tie for 30th at 2-under-par 68.
Defending champion Sergio Garcia, who squandered a six-shot lead in the final round of the Wachovia Championship last week, managed a 1-over-par 71 at Cottonwood Valley.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - EDS Byron Nelson Championship
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