After a successful tryout in Medinah, Ill., Hale Irwin brought his high-five act to the Big Apple.

It was another smash hit.

Just as he did last week after a 72nd-hole birdie in the U.S. Open, Irwin romped over to the ropes restraining the gallery and slapped high-fives with spectators around the sixth tee yesterday at Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y.

"This is the Big Apple. You have to play to the gallery," the usually restrained Irwin said of his sudden flair of showmanship after his hole-in-one -- a wedge that flew a few feet beyond the flag and spun back into the cup. "Why not? A routine, 112-yard pitching wedge shot into the hole."

The ace was the centerpiece of a five-under-par 66 in the first round of the Buick Classic that left the U.S. Open champion one stroke behind rookie leader Kirk Triplett.

Irwin was tied for second with Blaine McCallister, Buddy Gardner and Bill Britton. Andy North, a two-time U.S. Open winner, led a group at 67 that also included Paul Azinger, Craig Stadler, Jay Haas, Larry Rinker, Pat McGowan and Fred Funk of College Park.


Kathy Postlewait birdied her last hole to tie Nancy Lopez for the lead at four under par in the opening round of the LPGA Rochester (N.Y.) International.

Postlewait, who started on the back nine, was two over after four holes but eagled the par-5 17th and made a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 9 to finish with a 68 over the Locust Hill Country Club course.

Lopez, a three-time champion at this tournament, also started on the back nine. She eagled No. 17 and led at five under after five holes but overshot the green on the par-3 ninth and bogeyed.

Postlewait and Lopez each finished with an eagle, five birdies, and three bogeys.

Amy Alcott and Joan Pitcock finished at 69.

European PGA:

Mark Calcavecchia fired a six-under-par 66 to take the first-round lead in the Irish Open in Portmarnock.

Spaniard Jose-Maria Olazabal and Frenchman Marc Farry were tied for second at 67.

Sheryl Calcavecchia, acting as her husband's caddie on their first visit to Ireland, suggested that an 8-foot birdie putt would swing to the right. "I didn't think it would and I missed it," Mark Calcavecchia said. "She read four putts for me and got them all right."

He reached the turn in a five-under 31 and added a birdie on the 160-yard 13th.