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GOLF ROUNDUP

Geiberger sets pace

'04 champ shares Greensboro lead

Brent Geiberger has been here before -- playing in Greensboro and needing a strong weekend to secure his future on the PGA Tour.

It worked out for him two years ago, and he's off to another good start.

Geiberger, John Rollins, and Nick Watney shot 8-under-par 64s to share the first-round lead in the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro, N.C.

``It's very similar to where I was in '04, but I feel with the equipment and the way I'm playing right now, I'd love to start out the year right now, because it'd be a completely different story," Geiberger said.

Defending champion K.J. Choi opened with a 65 and James Driscoll of Chestnut Hill, John Senden, Robert Gamez, Mike Sposa, Tag Ridings, and Charley Hoffman were two strokes back.

Geiberger birdied eight of his final 12 holes in another strong performance at Forest Oaks, the site of his most recent victory on the PGA Tour.

He came to Greensboro in 2004 needing a strong performance to finish the season in the top 125 on the money list and secure his full Tour card. He wound up winning with an 18-under 270 total, two strokes ahead of Michael Allen.

Geiberger entered this year's tournament ranked 144th on the money list and finished the first day with his best opening-round score of the year.

``I feel like I've got something in my bag right now that gives me a chance to win or contend each week," Geiberger said.

Watney, a fourth-year pro chasing his first PGA Tour victory, had one bogey and nine birdies in matching his career low round. During one stretch, he had three consecutive birdies.

``When you see that you're eight behind before you tee off, it's a little bit daunting, but at the same time, you know that there's some good scores out there," Watney said.

Ridings was poised to join Geiberger, Rollins, and Watney atop the leaderboard.

He was at 8 under through 17 before he double bogeyed the par-4 18th. He failed to land his chip shot from 46 feet away on the green, and two-putted after finally getting on the green.

LPGA -- Brandie Burton had an eagle 2 on the par-4 first hole and finished with a 5-under 68 to take a one-stroke lead over Kelli Kuehne and 18-year-old Morgan Pressel in the Corona Morelia Championship in Mexico.

Mexican star Lorena Ochoa was three strokes behind after a 71.

Defending champion Carin Koch had an eagle and a double bogey en route to an even-par 73. Natalie Gulbis, the leader after one round in 2005, shot a 77, then was disqualified for failing to sign her scorecard, even though she signed Koch's as a witness and was calmly signing autographs after her round.

The 24-year-old Ochoa has three wins this year, but has not been a factor in the three LPGA Tour events south of the border since March 2005.

Beginning on the back nine, Ochoa birdied her first hole, then recovered from a bogey on the 13th with birdies on two of her next three holes. She birdied Nos. 1 and 7, but had bogeys on 4 and 5. On the par-4 ninth, she hit a 7-iron approach when an 8-iron would have been better, then two-putted for bogey.

European -- Paul Casey shot a 9-under 63 to lead by one shot after the first round of the Dunhill Links in St. Andrews, Scotland, strengthening his bid to win the European Order of Merit.

The 29-year-old Englishman has a $152,000 lead on David Howell, who has a lingering shoulder injury and shot 75 at the Kingsbarns course.

The event is being played on three courses, and Bradley Dredge shot a record 8-under 64 on the newly extended Old Course at St. Andrews. He is tied for second with Scottish Open winner Johan Edfors, who played at Kingsbarns. Vijay Singh and Gary Evans (Kingsbarns), and Anders Hansen (Carnoustie) shared fourth place with 65s.

New England Pro Golf Tour -- Rob Oppenheim of Andover, Mass., shot a 3-under 69 to complete a three-shot win in the Greater Atlantic City Open in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., the final tour event of the season.

The win was Oppenheim's second straight wire-to-wire victory. Mike Calef of West Bridgewater, Mass., and Michael Harris of Shorewood, Wis., tied for second at 11 under.

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