- The Washington Times - Friday, July 25, 2008

From combined dispatches

TROON, Scotland | Four days after nearly making history at the British Open, Greg Norman labored to a 4-over 75 Thursday in the opening round of the Senior British Open to finish seven shots behind co-leaders Bruce Vaughan and Eduardo Romero.

In sunny conditions at Troon, Norman bogeyed six of the first 10 holes and was 6 over before he finally birdied the par-4 13th. He birdied the final hole with a pitch to 3 feet.

“Things just weren’t going my way early on,” Norman said. “I just had to hang in there and guts it out the best I could. The ball just wasn’t rolling my way.”

The Australian said windy conditions, similar to the British Open, had an impact on his game.

“I got to the first tee and I never played this golf course in this wind before,” Norman said. “I didn’t feel that confident with some of the tee shots.”

The 53-year-old Norman led the British Open at Royal Birkdale with nine holes to play Sunday and appeared on course to become the oldest winner of a major before he finished third behind Padraig Harrington.

While Norman struggled, playing partner Tom Watson made every green and missed only one fairway in a bogey-free 70. Andy Bean, John Cook and Kirk Hanefield and Nick Job were one shot off the leaders.

Vaughan made eight birdies for a 3-under 68 on the links course. But his round was hampered by a double-bogey and a triple. He recovered from the 7s on the sixth and 12th holes to play the last six at 3 under.

Weir plays to the locals

OAKVILLE, Ontario | Mike Weir gave Canadian Open fans what they came to see on another rainy day at drenched Glen Abbey.

The Canadian icon shot a bogey-free 6-under 65 for a share of the lead with Anthony Kim and Eric Axley during the suspended first round. Only half of the players were able to finish the round that was delayed for 5 hours, 42 minutes.

“You want to take advantage of today because it’s only going to get a little firmer and faster,” Weir said, his words punctuated by a clap of thunder that drew a smile and forced him to reconsider his answer. “Maybe not with what’s coming. Maybe not.”

Ochoa grabs lead

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France | Lorena Ochoa shot a 7-under par 65 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Evian Masters.

The 26-year-old Ochoa started with a birdie on the first hole and added six more on the back nine in a bogey-free round. Ahn Sun-ju, Candie Kung and Angela Park trailed by one stroke.

“I’m just glad I’m at the top,” Ochoa said. “I had a slow start. I made birdie on the first hole and didn’t give myself a lot of birdie chances. I had a break on 10 and 11. I got really good confidence and started feeling good over the ball and the putting.”

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