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Brad Faxon leads Colonial by one shot, Tiger Woods by four

May 23, 1997

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ Tiger Wood’s quest for a PGA Tour ``triple″ is off to an uncertain start, but he insists he likes his chances entering today’s second round of the MasterCard Colonial.

``I feel I’m in good shape,″ the 21-year-old sensation said Thursday after a 3-under-par 67 left him four shots behind leader Brad Faxon and also trailing a dozen others.

``Any score under par is a good score here. ... I feel I’m right there for the weekend.″

With victories in the Masters and the Byron Nelson Classic in his last two outings, he could become the first player since Nick Price to win three times in consecutive starts.

That was in 1993, when Woods was winning his third U.S. Junior Amateur championship and a year before he won the first of three U.S. Amateur titles.

But Faxon, after flirting with a 2-stroke penalty, plundered the proud old Colonial Country Club course, firing a bogey-free, 7-under-par 63 for a 1-shot lead.

Thinking his tee time was 11:45, he came within seconds of duplicating Wednesday’s misadventure when he showed up half a minute late to the first tee box.

``Add two,″ a PGA official said then.

Thursday, Faxon’s caddy rescued him.

``We gotta go,″ John Burke said. ``We’re off at 11:40.″

Faxon glanced at his watch. It was 11:38. He raced up a hill and escaped the penalty.

``How stupid is that?″ he said with a laugh.

Attacking the soft, vulnerable greens and seizing on a rare day without Texas winds, Faxon carved up ``Hogan’s Alley″ and took a stroke lead over Justin Leonard, Paul Goydos and Jim Furyk at 64.

Another shot back at 65 were David Duval, Brian Henninger and Bob Tway.

While Faxon was tying the tournament record for the low opening round, a total of 52 players were breaking par for only the second time in Colonial’s 51-year history.

But the story was, as usual, Woods, who has won three times in eight appearances this year and is the leading money winner with $1,290,350.

``I didn’t really play all that well,″ he said. ``I drove it well, but my iron shots weren’t good. I had to be cautious with my putting because I had a lot of 20-30 footers.

``I’m happy just to get in with a 67.″

Although Tiger had the lion’s share of a crowd estimated at 45,000, his gallery was neither as large nor as loud as those at the Nelson. But his followers were every bit as adoring, cheering his every shot. He responded with his familiar toothy smile.

``When I was growing up watching tournaments on TV, I saw players do that and I thought that was really neat,″ he said. ``I want to do what I can to make people feel good.″

Neither Woods nor his colleagues expected the brutal assault on Colonial to continue.

``I think you’ll see a harder golf course as the week goes on,″ Faxon predicted.

Said Tiger: ``If the wind starts blowing, I think you’ll see some scores back up.″

But probably Texan Justin Leonard said it best.

``There’s some weather moving in,″ Leonard said, ``but for all you people who aren’t from Texas, that doesn’t mean anything. So just be patient.″

Divots: Goydos’ round included an eagle at the par-4 10th when he holed a 6-iron from a bad angle on the right side of the fairway. ... A fan got a smile from Woods when he hollered, ``Go Stanford,″ Tiger’s alma mater. ... Corey Pavin, the defending champion, opened with a 71. ... Texas Christian University sophomore Alberto Ochoa, the only amateur in the field, matched par 70. ... Fuzzy Zoeller, who’s been in the news of late, posted a a 71.

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