Ben Curtis is still searching for the elusive victory that proves his 2003 British Open title wasn't a flash in the pan. A career-best round at the Booz Allen Classic might have him on his way.
Curtis shot a 9-under-par 62 yesterday in Potomac, Md., topping a lackluster field in the first round of an anticlimactic tournament following the US Open. He took advantage of the impeccable conditions at a TPC at Avenel course that looked especially inviting after last week's brutal challenge at Winged Foot.
``After playing last week, the fairways look like they are 80 yards wide," said Curtis, who was one shot off the course record. ``The greens look huge, so you just kind of free-swing."
Curtis led Jeff Gove by one shot and Jose Coceres by two, with Steve Flesch and Will MacKenzie three back. Curtis birdied four consecutive holes on the front nine and five straight holes on the back nine in what he said was the best round he's ever played in competition.
LPGA -- Shi Hyun Ahn bested the swirling winds and opened with a 7-under 65 in Pittsford, N.Y., to take a one-stroke lead over rookie Brittany Lang in the Rochester LPGA.
Lang, 20, a runner-up at the US Women's Open a year ago, twice chipped in from off the green but picked up two bogeys along with eight birdies.
PGA Club Pros -- Steve Schneiter and Alan Schulte eagled their final hole to drop to 5-under 67 and forge a four-way tie for the lead after the first round of the PGA Professional National Championship in Verona, N.Y.
Rob Wilkin of Lenexa, Kan., held a one-shot lead before making his lone bogey on his final hole and was at 67 with Cameron Doan of Dallas.
European -- Thomas Bjorn shot an 8-under 65 in Glenagles, Scotland, for a two-shot lead in the first round of the Johnnie Walker Championship.