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K.J. Choi leads Tiger Woods after first round at Sherwood

Choi

South Korean K.J. Choi ignored swirling wind gusts and shot a six-under-par 66 to take the first-round lead Thursday in the Chevron World Challenge, the tournament that benefits Tiger Woods' charitable foundation.

Woods, who started fast with four birdies on the front nine holes at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, made back-to-back bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes. But then he birdied the 17th and finished tied for second place with a three-under 69.

"Anything under par is a good day today with the wind up," said Woods, who is trying to win his first tournament in two years.

Woods' playing partner, Steve Stricker, also shot a 69 that included a 40-foot birdie putt on the 18th green. Three others were tied at one under: Nick Watney, Rickie Fowler and Jim Furyk, who won the tournament in 2009.

When the 18-player field teed off in pairs of two, thewinds that had invaded Southern California were mostly dormant, and Choi and Woods took advantage of the break.

Choi reeled off birdies on the first five  holes and Woods birdied four of the first five. Then, as the winds regained force, most of the golfers struggled simply to shoot par the rest of the way.

"Conditions got very difficult probably on our sixth or seventh hole," Stricker said. "The fan turned on and made club selection pretty tough."

The winds were expected to dissipate during Friday's second round.

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-- Jim Peltz in Thousand Oaks

Photo: K.J. Choi of South Korea tees off on the sixth hole Thursday at the Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks. Credit: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

 
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