When Beth Daniel walked off the first green in the U.S. Women’s Open, there were three groups waiting to hit on the No. 2 tee. Then play really started to slow down.
Daniel and Kim Williams shot 1-under-par 69s Thursday for a one-stroke lead over six players after the first round played at a dreadfully slow pace on a Southern Pines, N.C., course jacked up to U.S. Open conditions - fast greens and thick rough.
A series of bizarre rulings involving everything from the blimp-shaped balloon that carries TV antennas and the more routine out-of-bounds calls backed up play and created the kind of nearly six-hour rounds common to public courses on weekends.
“I don’t see a reason why it should take this long,” said defending champion Annika Sorenstam, tied with Michele Redman, Kris Tschetter, Brandie Burton, Jenny Lidback and Japanese amateur Riko Higashio at even-par 70.
Williams got a break by teeing off at 9:20, and played in about four hours.
“I made a lot of putts,” said Williams, who opened her round with a birdie, a double bogey and a birdie but took the up-and-down start in stride.
“It’s the U.S. Open,” said Williams, who was struck in the neck by a stray bullet two years ago in Ohio. “You’re going to make bogeys. I wasn’t worried about it.”
Daniel played in 5:40 in the third from the last group.
Nancy Lopez, trying to win her first U.S. Open, shot a 77. Tracy Hanson of Rathdrum, Idaho, was in a group of 23 at 6-over 76.
Tiger Woods shot a course-record 5-under 67 to forge a three-stroke lead after two rounds of the NCAA golf championships at Ooltewah, Tenn.
The Stanford sophomore birdied three straight holes on the back nine in bettering the course record of 68 tied Wednesday by Arizona State’s Pat Perez. Woods has a two-day total of 8-under 136 on the 7,039-yard, par-72 Honors Course near Chattanooga.
Runner-up Brad Elder of Texas shot 68. Rory Sabbatini of Arizona shot a second straight 70 and is at 4-under.
Woods had seven birdies and two bogeys on a course that puts a premium on accuracy and patience.
“I’m feeling good with my game. I know where I’m missing it, which is nice,” said Woods, the two-time defending U.S. Amateur champion. “I’m playing extremely smart out there, which you have to do on this course.”
Steve Lowery birdied the final hole to break a logjam with three other players and take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Memorial Tournament at Dublin, Ohio.
Lowery’s 15-foot putt on the closing hole gave him a 5-under 67, one better than Payne Stewart, Larry Mize and Wayne Westner.
Ex-Pullman resident Kirk Triplett shot 75.
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