Vijay Singh made the opening round of the Kemper Open look as easy as 1-2-3.
Singh birdied the first three holes en route to a 6-under-par 65 and a tie for the lead with Robert Gamez, who knocked five strokes off par in a torrid four-hole stretch on the front nine.
Mark O’Meara, Jeff Maggert, Wayne Grady and Steve Lowery were one shot behind the leaders. Tom Kite and six others had 67s on the TPC at Avenel course in Potomac, Md.
Singh, vying for his third win on the PGA Tour this year, hit into the bunker on both of the first two holes. But he successfully blasted out on each occasion and subsequently sank short putts. A three-foot putt on No. 3 moved him 3-under and set the tone for the day.
“I started very well, and that got the momentum going,” Singh said. “It also helped that I started early. By the time I got to the back nine, the wind kicked up and made things pretty difficult.”
Several players who usually skip the tournament showed up for a final tuneup before next week’s U.S. Open. Greg Norman shot a 72 and Nick Price, the world’s top-ranked player, shot a 70.
Jim Ritts, the LPGA’s newly appointed commissioner, said he will concentrate on increasing media exposure, marketing opportunities and sponsorship of more-lucrative tour events.
Ritts, 41, was formally introduced at the LPGA headquarters in Daytona Beach, Fla., as replacement for Charles Mechem Jr., who is retiring at the end of the year.
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