With the U.S. Open in sight, defending champion Ernie Els has his game in gear. Coming off a victory at the Byron Nelson Classic last week, Els shot a 68 Thursday in the first round of the Buick Classic.
The 3-under-par round, in which Els closed with a 33 at Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y., gave him a share of second place, a stroke behind Doug Martin, a non-winner in four years on the tour.
With Els, Mike Hulbert, Grant Waite of New Zealand, Bruce Fleisher and Mike McCullough already in the clubhouse with 68s, Martin eagled the 535-yard par-5 18th hole when he hit what he called “a perfect three-wood” from 237 yards to 4 feet from the cup.
That putt gave him the lead alone.
Ten players were in a jam at 69, two strokes behind Martin, including Clark Burroughs, Marco Dawson, Fulton Allem, Larry Rinker, Jim Furyk, Dave Duval, Blaine McCallister, Chip Beck, Chris Perry and Paul Azinger.
Tiger Woods, nauseous and dehydrated and doubled over in pain, persevered in the opening round to keep defending national champion Stanford alive in the NCAA Men’s West Regional golf tournament at Albuquerque, N.M.
Woods, who at 19 has already played in eight PGA events and was the only amateur to make the cut at the Masters last month, got sick after the team meal Wednesday.
Stanford was reduced to four players when senior Casey Martin came down with the same stomach ailment and had to withdraw. If Woods had withdrawn, Stanford would not have had enough players to compete.
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