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Wilson Surges to Tucson Lead

2005 Chrysler Classic at TucsonTUCSON, Ariz. -- Mark Wilson fired an 8-under-par 64 on Thursday to take the opening-round lead of the Chrysler Classic of Tucson at Omni Tucson National Golf Resort.
Gabriel Hjertstedt, Duffy Waldorf, Jerry Kelly, John Riegger and Doug Barron are knotted in second place at 6-under-par 66.
The top players in the world are competing this week at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, but several players went low on Thursday.
One-hundred of the 144 players that started the tournament on Thursday broke par. Sixteen more golfers, including Champions Tour player Don Pooley, shot even-par 72, meaning 28 players failed to shoot par or better.
Wilson began on the back nine Thursday and promptly broke into red figures with a birdie at the 10th. He birdied 14 and 15, but stumbled on the 18th with a bogey.
Wilson more than atoned for the miscue at 18. He reached the par-5 second green with a rescue-club, then rolled in a 25-foot eagle putt from the front fringe.
'That got me going,' admitted Wilson.
The 31-year-old continued his strong play on his second nine. He recorded three birdies in a four-hole span from the fourth, and looked to be in good shape to add another birdie.
At the par-5 eighth, Wilson laid up with a 2-iron for his second shot. From 70 yards out, Wilson hit a wedge to 8 feet, but failed to convert the birdie try.
Wilson was 7 under par, but had one birdie left in him. He knocked a 6-iron to 12 feet at the par-4 ninth hole, to set up birdie and give himself a two-shot lead.
'If I could have rolled in some of the birdie shots early and made the silly bogey from the fairway on 18, I could have had something real special today,' acknowledged Wilson. 'I'm still happy with what it is, though.'
Wilson has been a journeyman of sorts in professional golf. He toiled on mini tours, the Hooters Tour and Australian Tour before getting his PGA Tour card in 2002.
He finished 133rd on the tour's money list last season and has conditional status. Wilson does not get in every tour event, so it's important for him to take advantage when he gets a spot.
'I just realized to be patient and be ready when it's my turn,' said Wilson. 'If I can keep shooting 64 every day here, then things will change quick. It's good to come out and play well when I get any chances like this week.'
Alex Cejka, Heath Slocum, Carlos Franco, Gavin Coles, Matt Hansen, Nathan Green, Bob Estes, Scott Gutschewski, Jason Allred, long-hitting Bubba Watson and former U.S. Amateur Champion Ricky Barnes share seventh place at 5-under-par 67.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Chrysler Classic of Tucson
  • Full Coverage - Chrysler Classic of Tucson
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