Snedeker, Choi share lead as Tiger lurks

Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:40pm EST
 
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - While most eyes were on six-times champion Tiger Woods as he briefly moved within a stroke of the lead at the Farmers Insurance Open on Thursday, Brandt Snedeker launched his title defense in barnstorming style.

Snedeker, who has posted four top-10s in his previous six appearances in the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, charged into a tie for the lead with South Korean KJ Choi after carding a flawless seven-under-par 65 in the opening round.

The fast-talking American birdied four of his first nine holes before picking up three more shots after the turn on the easier North Course, one of two layouts hosting the fourth PGA Tour event of the year.

"Obviously, a great start," FedExCup champion Snedeker told reporters after a mainly overcast and calm day at Torrey Pines. "It was nice to be back here defending. The golf course is in great shape and to play the way I played today was nice.

"I drove the ball really well, didn't make too many mistakes and, when I did, my putter saved me.

"It was a great day, but I realize we've got three more of them (rounds) to go and I've still got the hard course to go, so not too much excitement yet."

Choi birdied three of his last four holes on the tougher South layout to join Snedeker at seven under while Woods, who got to six under after a storming seven-under run from the fifth to the 13th, finished bogey-par-bogey-par for a 68 on the South.

"I made a few mistakes out there, but I made some nice plays as well," said Woods, whose charge came immediately after he had double-bogeyed the fourth. "We couldn't ask for better conditions to score than we had today."   Continued...

 
U.S. golfer Brandt Snedeker hits a drive off the 11th tee of the south course at Torrey Pines during first round play at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, California January 24, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake