Singh, Lowery share first round lead

Vijay Singh hits a 5-under round of 65 and a share of the lead with Steve Lowery after the first round of the Tour Championship.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:28 IST
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Atlanta, Georgia:

Vijay Singh hit a 5-wood within 8 inches of a hole-in-one on East Lake's tough finishing hole Thursday, giving him a 5-under round of 65 and a share of the lead with Steve Lowery after the first round of the Tour Championship. Charles Howell III enjoyed a bogey-free round of 66 on his Tour Championship debut to finish one shot behind the leaders. Howell is one of 10 players who have never played in what amounts to the PGA Tour's All-Star game, a season-ending event for the top 30 on the money list. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, Numbers 1 and 2 in the world and on the PGA Tour money, played together for the first time this year. The rivalry between the two was evident before either even teed off. As the starter was reading off Woods' five victories this year - Bay Hill, Masters, U.S. Open, Buick Open, American Express Championship - Mickelson playfully cut her off. "All right, all right," he said, acting as though he had heard enough. Woods had a 71 on the day, the first time in 21 rounds he has failed to break par dating to his 81 in the third round of the British Open. Woods won't forget the par-3 sixth hole any time soon. The wind laid down after he hit a soft 7-iron, and his ball bounded over the green and into the water for a double bogey. That ended his streak of 328 holes with nothing worse than a bogey, dating to the first hole of the third round in the Buick Open, which he went on to win. Mickelson had four birdies and four bogeys in an even-par 70. Retief Goosen shot a 1-under par 69 on a Halloween day full of cold, swirling winds. Shigeki Maruyama, who hasn't played in six weeks because of a shoulder injury, had 68 despite bogeys on his last two holes. Fred Funk turned in the shot of the day when he holed his approach shot on the 10th hole for a birdie. Funk finished with a 3-under par 67. Howell and Singh were the only players without a bogey at East Lake Thursday. Howell finished a stroke off of the lead with a four-under par 66. Lowery missed the cut last week in the Buick Challenge and worried that he might not even qualify for the Tour Championship. He wound up dropping only one spot on the money list to No. 29, came to East Lake and then shot a 60 during the soggy pro-am on Tuesday. The 42-year old finished with a round of 65 on Thursday, a good start for one of six players in the field still searching for their first PGA Tour victory this year. Singh's remarkable birdie on the 18th hole brought him to 5-under on the day as well. He could have used that kind of finish four years ago. When the Tour Championship first came to East Lake in 1998, the tournament was his to win. Instead, Singh's 3-iron on the final hole bounced over the brick-hard green and into the rough, leading to a bogey. He lost to Hal Sutton on the first playoff hole. Even after one round in cold and swirling winds, Singh already was looking ahead to redemption in the Tour Championship - and at East Lake. (AP)