AKRON, Ohio Retief Goosen, a late arrival and an early starter, took advantage of a Firestone South course that played long and short on his way to a 4-under 66 that gave him a one-shot lead Thursday in the Bridgestone Invitational.
One year after Tiger Woods was the only player to break par, Goosen and 32 other players in the 80-man field met only minor resistance on a balmy afternoon at this World Golf Championship.
Vijay Singh and former Masters champion Zach Johnson were among those at 67, while Steve Stricker was headed for the outright lead until running into trouble off the tee late in his round, losing three shots in two holes and joining another large group at 68. Tim Clark, a medium hitter who was at 67, hit his hybrid so often he was amazed it had any grooves left.
And the short? That would be the rough.
It was so deep last year that players often had trouble just getting it back to the fairway, and there were shots that squirted sideways leading to several big numbers. But the rough is only about 2 inches this year, at least giving players a chance.
LEGENDS RENO-TAHOE OPEN: At Reno, Michelle Wie put herself in contention to make her first cut in eight tries on the PGA Tour, shooting a 1-over 73 in the opening round of the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open that left her eight strokes behind leader Jeff Overton. Playing on the men's tour for the first time since January 2007, Wie had three birdies, four bogeys and rallied to save par on several holes at the 7,472-yard mountain course at Montreux Golf & Country Club. Overton, birdied four of the first five holes and made eight birdie putts on the day seven from 10 feet or closer to go with a lone bogey for a 7-under 65 and a two-shot lead over Harrison Frazar, Brian Davis, Marco Dawson and John Merrick.
WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN: At Sunningdale, England, Juli Inkster had the sort of opening round Annika Sorenstam was hoping for at the Women's British Open, a bogey-free 7-under 65 that left the 48-year-old American one shot ahead of the field. While Sorenstam struggled to a 72 in what the Swede says is her final major before she quits tournament golf at the end of the season to start a family, Inkster went out among the earliest in the field to shoot an eagle and five birdies. She is a stroke ahead of seven players Ji-Yai Shin, Ji Young Oh, Yuri Fudoh, Momoko Ueda, Jo Head, Laura Diaz and Stacy Prammanasudh.
Inkster's opening round gives her a good start toward becoming the oldest winner of a major and the second player to complete a career Super Slam.
A victory in Sunningdale also would mean that Inkster would have gone a women's record 24 years between her first major the 1984 Kraft Nabisco and du Maurier and her last. Jack Nicklaus went 24 years between his first and last majors the 1962 U.S. Open and 1986 Masters.
U.S. SENIOR OPEN: At Colorado Springs, the only thing that spoiled John Cook's comeback was Fred Funk's finish. Cook, who blew a big lead on the back nine at the British Senior Open on Sunday, carded a 4-under 66, which was good for the clubhouse lead for most of the day until Funk birdied the 16th and 17th holes to go 6 under before three-putting the final hole and finishing at 5-under 65. Funk had two birdies and an eagle on the first four holes of a spectacular round that was bogey-free until the 18th hole.