New Zealander Lee in four-way tie for Tampa lead

Thu Mar 13, 2014 8:44pm EDT
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(Reuters) - New Zealander Danny Lee continued his recent resurgence to claim a share of a four-way tie for the lead after the first round of a windswept $5.7 million Tampa Bay Championship on Thursday.

Lee, fresh off a runner-up finish in Puerto Rico last Sunday that earned him a spot in the event this week, picked up where he left off in the Caribbean to join Americans Matt Avery and Pat Perez, and Australian Greg Chalmers, on three-under-par 68 on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor.

Only Avery of the leaders played in the morning, when chilly temperatures and a biting northerly wind made birdies hard to come by.

"This morning you couldn't feel your hands," Avery told reporters after closing with three birdies in his final four holes.

"The wind was so brutal. I hit it pretty solid all day, stayed patient and rolled in a few putts. I would have been satisfied with two over today. It was a good day."

Only seven of the 25 competitors under par played in the morning.

"I knew it was going to be brutal this morning. We got lucky with the later tee time, the warmest part of the day," said Perez, who teed off at 12.30pm.

"We got some good weather and I was able to take advantage of some of the harder holes."

Lee, who played in the final group, got to four-under before falling back into a tie for the lead with a bogey at his 15th hole, the lone blemish on his card.   Continued...