Isenhour, Micheel, Claxton, Ogilvie and Morland fire 65s

Updated: July 18, 2002, 9:49 PM ET
Associated Press

ENDICOTT, N.Y. -- Tripp Isenhour, Shaun Micheel, Paul Claxton, Joe Ogilvie and David Morland IV, five golfers clawing to establish themselves as regulars on the PGA Tour, shot 7-under 65s Thursday and shared the first-round lead at the B.C. Open.

Paul Claxton
APPaul Claxton is tied for the lead at the B.C. Open, thanks to a 65 and a hot putter.

The five started what has become the annual ritual of the pros carving up the 6,974-yard En-Joie Golf Club course. No golfer in the 30-year history of the event has ever shot an above-par round during the tournament and won.

Trailing the leaders by one stroke was Brian Wilson, a Buy.com Tour member playing in his first PGA event of the year. A large group at 67 included J.P. Hayes and David Peoples.

Jay Haas, one of the top names in a tournament dominated by lesser lights as it goes head-to-head again with the British Open, quit after teeing off on No. 15 due to apparent kidney stones. He was being evaluated at a hospital Thursday evening.

Among them, the five leaders made 383 starts in PGA tournaments heading into the B.C. Open without a victory. Isenhour is having the best year of the group, making the cut in seven of 10 events and earning $207,144 for 138th on the money list.

The best-ever finish for any of the leaders in a tour event is a fourth-place tie by Ogilvie at the 2000 St. Jude Classic.

Isenhour made a three-putt bogey on his first hole of the day and followed with eight birdies and nine pars. His 65 was a significant improvement over his last two opening rounds on tour -- 79 at the Western Open and 78 at the Greater Milwaukee Open. He missed the cut in both.

''It was a little bit like, `Oh, boy,''' he said of his only bogey. ''But I just said I was going to stay patient today and not try to force things.''

Morland has missed the cut in eight of the nine PGA tournaments he has played this year as he splits his time between the PGA and Buy.com tours. The highlight of his round was an eagle at the short, par-4 16th when his wedge from 66 yards skipped past the pin by about four feet and backed up into the cup.

Micheel said a sloppy bogey on the par-4 18th -- his ninth hole of the day -- woke him up and he made five birdies in six-hole span starting at No. 3.

Oglivie, who had a bogey-free round, has made only two of nine cuts on the tour in 2002.

Claxton had nine birdies and two bogeys, and took only 25 putts.

''I was real hot with the putter today,'' he said. ''I think that's the key -- hitting good tee shots and rolling the putter.''

Claxton was the last of the leaders to finish, and he did so as threatening skies moved in following a hot, humid day.

''We were hustling to get in,'' he said.

Defending champion Jeff Sluman shot even-par 72. Paul Gow, whom Sluman beat on the second playoff hole last year, shot a 6-under 29 on the back nine, his opening nine of the day, but cooled off to finish at 67.

Wilson's best finish in 32 previous PGA events was 20th in the 2000 Buick Open. He said he was with friends in Fort Worth on Tuesday expecting to be on vacation this week when he got a call telling him the final spot in the B.C. Open field had opened.

He arrived in Endicott on Wednesday evening and shot a 66 without a practice round.

''That's why we came up here -- hopefully to make a decent check and who knows? Maybe to have a chance to win,'' Wilson said.

Notes
Bob Byman was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. ... Chris Perry, the B.C. Open champion in 1998, was also at 7-under until bogeys at Nos. 13 and 14 dropped him to 5-under and he finished with a 67. He is playing in only his fifth PGA Tour event of the year as he struggles with injuries to his left wrist and thumb.


Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press

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