Dudley Hart lives in Buffalo and is a big hockey fan, so it was fitting that he thrived in the chilly opening round of the FBR Open in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The 38-year-old Hart, a two-time PGA Tour winner whose most recent victory was at the 2000 Honda Classic, shot a 7-under 64 for a one-stroke advantage atop a crowded leaderboard Thursday.
Twelve players were within two shots of the lead on a TPC Scottsdale course softened by a day of rain Wednesday.
Usually, big hitters dominate on the wide-open, par-71, 7,216-yard layout, but the damp weather leveled the playing field.
“It was not a typical desert day obviously,” Hart said, “but it turned out well for me.”
Paul Azinger was one of a half-dozen at 65.
Billy Mayfair, who lives an easy 8-iron shot from the TPC clubhouse, was among another six at 66.
Starting early in the morning when it was especially cold and windy, Hart birdied eight holes and bogeyed one.
Playing the back nine first, he bogeyed the par-5, 552-yard 15th, then reeled off birdies on five of the next seven holes.
“Well, the course was a little softer obviously after the rain yesterday,” Hart said, “and that always helps our cause when you can kind of throw the ball at the pin and not worry about it getting away from you too much.”
Woods three strokes back
Tiger Woods struggled with his putting, finishing the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic in the United Arab Emirates three strokes behind the leaders with a 4-under 68.
The defending champion reacted angrily after photographers snapped pictures while he teed off, and tossed his club onto the ground after missing a putt.
“A little frustrating out there,” Woods said. “Last week I putted great, and today I didn’t putt so good.”
Ross Fisher and Graeme McDowell both shot 7-under 65s to share the lead.
Ernie Els, expected to be Woods’ main competition, was another stroke back at 66 in a three-way tie for third with Jose Manuel Lara and Jyoti Randhawa.
Woods came to Dubai after winning the Buick Invitational for his seventh straight win on the PGA Tour. The Dubai tournament won’t affect the streak because it’s a PGA European Tour event.
Women’s Australian Open
Sarah Kemp shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over fellow Australians Karrie Webb and Nikki Campbell in the Women’s Australian Open in Sydney.
TRACKING RYAN MOORE
This week: PGA Tour’s FBR Open, today through Sunday, TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Ariz.
First-round score: 1-over-par 72.
Position: Moore is tied for 88th, eight strokes behind leader Dudley Hart (7-under 64).
Recap: His 25-foot chip-in for an eagle-2 on the reachable 322-yard, par-4 17th got the Puyallup native a little air time on The Golf Channel. That was the highlight, as Moore’s approach shots into greens were off the mark (hit 10 of 18 greens in regulation). He made a mess of the par-3 fourth hole, and salvaged bogey by making a 12-foot putt, then missed the green on the par-4 sixth hole, and two-putted from 25 feet for his final bogey of a one-birdie, four-bogey round.
Tee time today: 7:52 a.m. PST.