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GOLF ROUNDUP

A hot start in chill

Campbell's 64 leads at Honda

Chad Campbell warmed up as the weather did.

The burly Texan overcame a slow start in chilly, windy conditions yesterday to shoot an 8-under-par 64 for a two-stroke lead after the opening round of the Honda Classic at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Campbell began on the back nine shortly after 7 a.m., when temperatures were still in the 50s, and bogeyed Nos. 10 and 16. He then holed a 70-yard wedge on the par-5 No. 17, and on the front side he birdied six holes, including the last two with putts of 25 and 15 feet.

Half of the 144-player field at the Country Club at Mirasol finished before noon. Among those early starters, only Campbell shot better than 69, a reflection of the conditions.

"We were joking that maybe they let him on the member course," said Davis Love, who was happy to shoot 71.

Alone in second place at 66 was Brett Wetterich, playing 10 minutes from his home in Jupiter. Jesper Parnevik, another Jupiter resident and the 2001 champion, shot 67 three days after turning 40. Both players benefited from mild afternoon weather.

Skies were clear all day, but winds exceeded 15 miles per hour at the start, and with the grass still spongy from daylong rain Wednesday, the 7,468-yard course played long. Taking practice swings on the driving range shortly after sunrise, when winds were strongest, Campbell said he shivered and geared himself for a tough day.

"That has to be one of the best rounds this year, because I was pleased with my 67," Parnevik said. At 68 were Woody Austin, Nick Watney, and Aaron Baddeley, who finished in the top 10 in his past two starts. A group of 14 players at 69 included defending champion Todd Hamilton, Lee Janzen, Brad Faxon, and Kevin Na, at 21 the youngest player on the PGA Tour.

Vijay Singh, playing his first round since he fell to No. 2 in the world rankings, shot 71. His six-month reign at No. 1 ended Sunday when Tiger Woods overtook him by winning the Ford Championships at Doral.

Singh, the only player among the top six entered at the Honda, cannot regain the No. 1 ranking this week.

PGA European -- Pierre Fulke of Sweden shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Qatar Masters in Doha, while tournament favorite Ernie Els struggled en route to a 73. Australian golfer Richard Green, Henrik Stenson of Sweden, and Garry Houston of Wales each shot 67 at the 7,311-yard Doha Desert Golf Club.

Els, who won the Dubai Desert Classic Sunday with an eagle on the final hole, is the only top-50 player in the event.

"I made a few mistakes along the way -- nothing crazy, but just some basic mistakes," Els said. "I think this course can get to you if you are not careful.

"I tried, but I just couldn't get the ball close."

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