U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen was the only winner on a rainy opening day of the World Match Play Championship at Wentworth yesterday in Virginia Water, England, beating Jeff Maggert by a record 12 and 11.
Goosen's margin of victory exceeded the previous record in the 36-hole matches of 11 and 10, when Mark O'Meara beat Vijay Singh in the second round in 1998.
Because of a 21/2-hour rain delay at the start of the day, seven of the eight matches were suspended by darkness with the players still on the course, including defending champion Ernie Els. The South African recovered from a morning deficit to lead Scotland's Scott Drummond, 2 up, with two holes to play.
Top-ranked Singh trailed European Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer by two holes after 26, while England's Lee Westwood led British Open champion Todd Hamilton of the United States, 3 up, after 29 holes and Argentina's Angel Cabrera led K.J. Choi of South Korea, 1 up, after 33.
Three matches were all square: Ireland's Padraig Harrington against American Chris Riley after 32, Canadian Mike Weir and Frenchman Thomas Levet also after 32 and Spain's Miguel Jimenez against Steve Flesch of the United States after 26. The seven matches were to be completed this morning before the start of the second-round contests.
Goosen, seeking a sixth title at the World Match Play, birdied two of the first four holes and three of the last four in shooting a 7-under 65 while Maggert bogeyed six on the front nine.
* PGA: Mired in an awful rookie season, Jason Dufner shot a 7-under 65 to match his best round of the year and take a one-shot lead after the first round of the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro in North Carolina. He has missed the cut in 15 of 26 tournaments, and with only two events left, he's 186th on the money list.
Only the top 125 are guaranteed a spot for 2005.
"It's been a tough year," he said. "I haven't played that bad for the year, but it's just not working out. To be honest with you, I really don't have anything to lose. I need top fives or better to secure my card for next year."
Of course, Dufner is well ahead of where Andre Stolz started in Las Vegas a week ago. He was 217th before an improbable victory there, and it vaulted Stolz all the way to 89th. And, it gave him a two-year exemption.
Brent Geiberger, Tom Pernice Jr., Bo Van Pelt, Brendan Pappas and Brett Quigley all had 66s yesterday.
* LPGA: Grace Park capped an almost flawless round by rolling in a 25-foot birdie putt for a 10-under 62 that gave her a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Samsung World Championship in Palm Desert, Calif.
Park, looking frustrated moments earlier when her wedge shot missed the 18th green, beamed after her snaking, perfectly paced putt from the fringe dropped into the cup.
* EUROPE: Sergio Garcia shot a 4-under 66 and shared the lead with Carlos Rodiles in the rain-delayed first round of the Mallorca Classic.