There's no better place for Pettersson to start season
KAPALUA, Maui » Carl Pettersson isn't going to turn many heads at the Ritz-Carlton pool or even draw much attention walking down the 18th fairway.
But the fifth-year pro from Sweden, who now calls Raleigh, N.C., home, had the distinction of teeing off first for the 2006 PGA Tour season. He and Heath Slocum began the year at 11:10 a.m. with a pair of average drives on the par-5 first.
"Not really," Pettersson said when asked if it meant anything to have the first swing of 2006. "I thought it was pretty cool teeing off first. I didn't hit a great shot, but it went down the middle."
This is Pettersson's first tour of the wide-open Plantation Course. He picked up his first win at the Chrysler Championship and finished in a tie for second at the Southern Farm Bureau. The 28-year-old shot a solid 2-under 71 to trail first-round leader Olin Browne by two shots and Vijay Singh by one.
"It's beautiful here," Pettersson said. "I mean, every hole you get up, unbelievable views. You don't realize how hilly the course is. I'm just glad I made it around."
Browne in the lead:
Browne has managed a first-round lead only twice before. He shared the 18-hole lead with seven others at the 2004 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee before placing fourth. Last year, he shared the first-round lead with Rocco Mediate
at the U.S. Open Championship before dipping to a tie for 23rd.
Browne wasn't all that excited about leading yesterday, conceding he left a couple of shots coming down the stretch. He has three victories in his career, including last year's Deutsche Bank Championship.
"I wish I hadn't bogeyed 15 and I wish I'd birdied 18," Browne said. "Other than that, it's hard to get the ball close all the time. The wind is gusting. It's moving around. I wish I'd shot a couple of shots better, but I'll take it."
No eagles today:
The 28-player field didn't sink a single eagle, marking only the fourth time that has happened since the Mercedes moved to Maui in 1999. The other three times were the second round in 2000, and the second and third rounds in 1999.
The most difficult hole on the course was the par-4 third with a scoring average of 4.429. Last year, the 380-yard hole wound up ranked 11th, but yesterday it was tough. There were only two birdies and 15 pars with eight bogeys and three doubles.
The easiest hole was the par-5 fifth with a scoring average of 4.679. The 532-yard hole was the easiest last year as well with a 72-hole average of 4.532. It yielded 15 birdies and eight pars yesterday with seven bogeys and one double. There were no bogey-free rounds yesterday, although Garcia posted his 13th consecutive round at par or better.
No burnt orange for Leonard:
Justin Leonard looked for an orange shirt to wear to celebrate his alma mater winning the national championship in football Wednesday night.
"But I didn't have one with a collar," Leonard said after opening with a 1-under 72. The University of Texas graduate watched the game from his hotel room.
"It was very exciting for us to win a national championship," Leonard said. "It's been a long time (35 years). I'm sure everybody back in Austin is celebrating this win. I loved it."