Friday, May 03, 2002

Forsman takes first-round lead

Shoots 7-under 65 at Compaq Classic

The Associated Press

        NEW ORLEANS — Dan Forsman, taking advantage of an early tee time on the windswept English Turn course, shot a 7-under-par 65 Thursday to take the first-round lead in the Compaq Classic.

        “We started first. There was no doubt that was a definite advantage, because there was still some moisture on the ground,” Forsman said. “I think the big difference this afternoon is that (the greens) are so hard and baked that it's treacherous around the hole. And when the wind blows, there is so little friction on the grass that the ball could literally waver and be blown off.”

        Rich Beem opened with a 67, Stewart Cink and Dudley Hart topped a group at 68, and defending champion David Toms shot a 69.

        Forsman, who won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 1992, backed off three times because of the wind before sinking a 12-foot birdie putt on No.18, worried that the wind would steer it off course. But it was his putting, with only 24 putts on the day, that gave Forsman the lead.

        “I haven't had a 24-putt round in quite some time,” Forsman said. “But I've been working hard on my putting.”

        Beem, who teed off an hour after Forsman, shot a 29 on his first nine, then ran into the wind and had a 38 on the last nine.

        Temperatures were in the high 80s and the wind gusted over 27 mph throughout the day. There were 466 birdies, 530 bogeys and 58 double bogeys on the 7,116-yard Jack Nicklaus-designed course.

        FRENCH OPEN: Sweden's Marten Olander birdied eight straight holes for a 5-under 67 and a share of the first-round lead in the French Open.

        Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, the 2000 winner, and France's Jean-Francois Remesy also opened with 67s. Defending champion Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain shot a 69.


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