NEW YORK: Joe Ogilvie posted two eagles on the way to an eight-under par 64 which put him in a five-way tie for the lead after the first round of the US$4.7mil Bob Hope Classic on Wednesday.
Ogilvie recorded threes at the par-five second and 11th holes to join Ted Purdy, Duffy Waldorf, Fred Funk and Robert Damron at the top of the leaderboard as the 90-hole tournament got underway in La Quinta.
Four par-72 courses, the PGA West, Bermuda Dunes, Tamarisk and La Quinta, are being used in this week's event in the Californian desert. Most of Wednesday's leading scores came at the Tamarisk and at Bermuda Dunes.
Five players were one stroke off the pace on seven-under 65, 1998 winner Fred Couples, Franklin Langham, Nick Watney, Neal Lancaster and Britain's Justin Rose.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson was among a group of seven golfers on 66.
With the top four in the world rankings, number one Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, all taking the week off, Mickelson holds top billing.
The left hander beat Skip Kendall in a playoff here last year before going on to land the US Masters in April.
Mickelson, playing on the Tamarisk course, made a sizzling start with birdies on three of his first six holes, the 12th, 13th and 15th. He also picked up shots at the 18th, first, sixth and seventh but bogeyed the second.
“No matter how hard or how easy a golf course is you've got to make the shots,” Mickelson told reporters. “You've still got to make the greens and you've still got to make the putts.
“The recipe for doing well here is just to relax and enjoy the day. Sometimes you just get so intense, so tight on days like this, that it can cost you.”
Canada's Mike Weir, the winner here in 2003, started out with a one-under 71.
David Duval, who produced a closing 59 to lift the title in 1999, stumbled to a 10-over 82. – Reuters