first_imgA lack of rain this winter on the course near the Pacific Ocean has caused a lack of rough and it was evident in the scores. The scoring average of the 78 players in the event was 69.76, nearly two strokes lower than the Champions Tour average. Peter Jacobsen, Allen Doyle and Morris Hatalsky were a stroke behind, and Loren Roberts, Bobby Wadkins and Bruce Lietzke topped an 11-player group at 67. The Newport Beach Country Club is about as accomodating as the Champions Tour players could have hoped for Friday. Jay Haas, Fuzzy Zoeller, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Purtzer, Euardo Romero and R.W. Eaks shot 6-under 65s to share the first-round lead in the Toshiba Classic. “I think not having any rain hurts the course a little bit,” Purtzer said. “It makes the course a little defenseless. “The golf course is playing fast also. The par 5s, most of the guys can get there in two on two of them. The fairways are hard and fast.” Purtzer, who won the event in 2004 aided by a course-record 60, said the rounds could go lower on the weekend. Haas, who along with Crenshaw had the only bogey-free rounds among the leaders, said: “I think you’ll see someone shoot a low score. There are a lot of guys close together now.” Crenshaw, who had not recorded a round in the 60s in his six previous rounds, found his game at the 6,584-yard layout, the second shortest on the tour’s schedule. center_img “We enjoy playing this golf course,” Crenshaw said. “It’s not a killer course. You have to place your shots on the green. There are subtle tilts on this green that I find very interesting.” One up: Stephen Leaney hit a 40-foot birdie putt on the last hole to give him a one-shot lead over Heath Slocum at the PGA Tour’s PODS Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla. Leaney shot a 4-under 67 as only 37 players remained under par and 27 of them were within four shots of the lead. Playing in the rain: Stacy Prammanasudh shot a 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead during the suspended first round of the LPGA’s MasterCard Classic in Huixquilucan, Mexico, while two-time defending champion Annika Sorenstam had a 69 in her season debut. Play was suspended because of rain at about 3 p.m., then called for day because of darkness at about 6 p.m. Sixty-seven players were unable to complete the round. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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