Thousands of fans watching Tiger Woods post his first bogey-free round of the year missed out on all the excitement behind them -- Kirk Triplett setting the course record at the
Triplett took a two-shot lead yesterday by closing his stellar round with three straight birdies, the last from 45 feet on No. 9, just 15 minutes after Woods and his massive following were gone.
"They missed most of it, I think," said Triplett, playing two groups behind Woods.
Triplett needed only 11 putts over the last nine holes to pull away from an enormous pack of players that included just about everyone except the three biggest stars at Quail Hollow.
Vijay Singh, trying to become the first player in nearly five years to win three straight weeks, had a chance to take the early lead until he three-putted from 18 feet for bogey on the last hole for a 68.
Woods carved out a 69, making birdies with simple up-and-downs on the par 5s and finishing with two solid par saves -- a 75-foot bunker shot to tap-in range, and a full swing on a flop shot 40 feet from the flag that stopped just 3 feet behind the hole. He took big numbers and bogeys out of the equation.
Masters champion Phil Mickelson was poised to join the early leaders until he missed a 6-foot birdie on the par-5 15th and followed with his only bogey in a round of 70. It was his 17th consecutive round of par or better. Fredrik Jacobson, Stuart Appleby, and Brett Quigley were at 66, while the half-dozen players at 67 included former Masters champion Mike Weir, who had four straight birdies in the middle of his round and three straight at the end.
LPGA -- Soo-Yun Kang is a big winner on the women's tour in her native Korea. Now, she's taking aim at LPGA Tour success. Kang shot a 6-under 65, riding a pinpoint 60-degree wedge to a series of short birdies and grabbing a one-shot lead in the Michelob Ultra Open at Williamsburg, Va.
Kang had birdie putts of 18 inches, 2 feet, 3 1/2 feet, and 6 inches, all after hitting her 60-degree wedge from in close. She also nearly holed a 7-iron on the par-3 fifth and made the 1-foot putt.
Kang's late surge relegated Helen Alfredsson and Dorothy Delasin to second best at 5-under 66.
Michelle Wie, playing in a tournament for the first time since she finished fourth at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, routinely outdrove playing partners Clarissa Childs and Charlotta Sorenstam by a wide margin, but watched birdie putt after putt slide by in a 1-over 72.
Fellow teen sensation Aree Song, 18, opened with a 73.
Wie, 14, is playing under a sponsor's exemption.
Kim Saiki was two shots back, and a group of six was at 68.
Annika Sorenstam, the winner in two of four previous starts, was another shot back at 69, and defending champion Grace Park shot a 72.
European -- David Howell shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the British Masters at Meriden, England. Howell, playing in just his second tournament after missing six weeks with an injured shoulder, was a stroke in front of Eduardo Romero, Michael Campbell, Trevor Immelman, Kenneth Ferrie, and Andrew Coltart.
Colin Montgomerie shot an even-par 72 and Retief Goosen, the 2001 US Open champion, bogeyed four of the final nine holes and finished with a 72.