ORLANDO, Fla. Fred Couples made four birdies in his opening six holes, shot 5-under 65, and golf finally felt fun. Tiger Woods couldn't hit the green with a wedge, struggled to shoot even par, and he finally looked human.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational delivered a few surprises Thursday, none bigger than the 48-year-old Couples booming tee shots, taking only 23 putts and finishing atop the leaderboard with J.J. Henry.
In three previous trips to Bay Hill, Henry had never done better than 71. He played under warm sunshine without a bogey, making four birdie putts outside 15 feet.
Couples and Henry were a stroke ahead of defending champion Vijay Singh, Lee Westwood, Tom Lehman and Lucas Glover, who got a pep talk from friends to quit being so hard on himself. Woods, the world's No. 1 player, settled for a 70. Phil Mickelson opened with a 72.
BALLANTINE'S CHAMPIONSHIP: At Jeju Island, South Korea, Finland's Mikko Ilonen and Australia's Tony Carolan shot 5-under 67s to share the first-round lead in the inaugural Ballantine's Championship, the European tour's first event in South Korea. American Anthony Kim was a stroke back at 68 in a group that included Ireland's Paul McGinley, India's Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Bandhawa and Japan's Shingo Katayama. American Chris DiMarco was three strokes back after a 70. South Korean star K.J. Choi, a seven-time winner on the PGA Tour, and British Open champion Padraig Harrington opened with 71s.