Friday, August 09, 2002

Tiger 2 strokes back at Buick

The Associated Press

        GRAND BLANC, Mich. - Tiger Woods, in his first tournament since his Grand Slam chances ended at the British Open, shot a 5-under 67 Thursday and was two strokes behind first-round leader Kent Jones at the Buick Open. Mark Brooks and K.J. Choi shot 66s.

        Mark O'Meara, Woods' good friend, shot a 68 to join 13 players, including defending PGA Championship winner David Toms, at 4 under.

        The last time Woods and O'Meara were in the same group at a tournament was the third round of last month's British Open.

        On that unforgettable Saturday, Woods shot an 81 - his worst score as a professional.

        Woods, who was in a group of nine that included Hal Sutton, started solidly Thursday and finished strong with two birdies in his last three holes. His iron play was excellent, but his putting was inconsistent.

        Woods, making his third PGA Tour start in 11 weeks, is competing while preparing for the PGA Championship at Hazeltine in Minnesota, where he will attempt to become the first golfer to win three majors in one year twice.

        LPGA: Rookie Candie Kung celebrated her 21st birthday with a 7-under 65 Thursday to lead the Women's British Open after the first round. Kung is a stroke ahead of two-time champion Karrie Webb.

        Defending champ Se Ri Pak and leading American Tina Barrett are among four players two strokes behind. With top-10 finishes in her last two events, Kung came into the tournament on form. She finished with birdies on four of the last five holes in a bogey-free round.

        Kung, who was the 1999 American Junior Golf Association player of the year, tied for ninth at the Sybase Big Apple Classic two weeks ago and seventh at the Wendy's Championship for Children last week.

        “I was hitting the ball well the last couple of weeks and, coming into this week, just pretty much tried to do the same thing,” Kung said. “Today my putts were going in and that was about it.”

        GOLFWEEK PRO-AM: Cincinnati's professionals dominated the amateurs 40-20 Thursday in the local version of the Ryder Cup at Shaker Run in Lebanon. It was the pros' third straight victory in the 34-year-old series.

        Teams of 20, which included four senior participants per side for the first time this year, played better-ball matches in the morning, then alternate-shot matches in the afternoon.

        Three points were available per match — one for each nine and a third for best total. The outcome became a foregone conclusion when the pros emerged from the morning rounds with a 25-5 lead.

        The pro team of Scott Burnett and Lloyd Faulkner, who won 51/2 out of 6 points, took home Most Outstanding Player honors.

        -- Carey Hoffman


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