A simple adjustment led to a surprising first round for Tom Watson at the Senior PGA Championship in Louisville.
Watson shot a 4-under-par 67 yesterday at Valhalla and was tied for the lead with Hale Irwin, who birdied three of his last four holes.
The start of the tournament was delayed two hours after overnight rain drenched the course. Play was suspended because of lightning and 72 players were due back at 7:30 this morning to finish their opening rounds.
Gil Morgan was 3-under 68 through 15 holes and eight others were at 2 under.
Watson played yesterday morning and wasn't expecting much after struggling on the practice range the previous day.
"I worried about it all night," Watson said.
Just before his tee time, Watson remembered a swing change he made after the 2002 PGA Championship and it worked immediately.
"Just a takeaway thought, where I rotate a little bit more," he said. "On the first nine, I hit some pretty good quality shots doing it."
Watson started his round on the par-5 10th and sank a 12-foot birdie putt. He hit a fairway wood on the fringe on the par-5 18th and two-putted to make the turn in 2 under.
Watson missed the fairway on No. 2, which led to his only bogey. He reached the par-5 seventh in two and two-putted to take the lead, then capped his round with a 16-foot birdie putt on No. 9.
* PGA: Switching his putting grip helped Vaughn Taylor fix his stroke on the greens.
Taylor needed only 24 putts for a 5-under 66 that gave him a one-stroke lead over defending champion David Toms and Paul Stankowski after the first round of the St. Jude Classic in Memphis.
The former Nationwide Tour golfer grabbed the lead of a tournament that has none of the PGA Tour's top 10 money leaders with seven birdies and two bogeys. That put him in the lead after 18 holes for the first time in 14 PGA events.
Taylor said he rearranged his left hand on his putter after talking with an old teacher recently.
"I just putted really well," he said. "Basically, I hit it decent, kept it play and just basically hit some 20-, 30-footers, chipped in on 18 and just kind of hung in there."
* LPGA: It didn't take Annika Sorenstam long to get comfortable on a course she hadn't seen in nine years.
Without even taking a practice round, Sorenstam returned from two weeks off to shoot a 7-under 65 and tie Liselotte Neumann for the first-round lead at the Corning (N.Y.) Classic.
The two Swedes were one shot ahead of Natalie Gulbis, Lee Ann Walker-Cooper, Audra Burks and Nancy Harvey. Defending champion Juli Inkster finished at 1-over 73.
* EUROPE: Ernie Els took the early lead at the Volvo PGA Championship, shooting an 8-under 64 in the opening round at Wentworth in Virginia Water, England. Els was one stroke ahead of Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain, Christopher Hanell of Sweden and Stephen Dodd, a Welshman ranked 272nd in the world.