Despite missing two easy birdie putts at the end of the round, J.L. Lewis didn't fret over what could have been and took his 10-under-par 62 for what it was -- his best start ever on the PGA Tour and a two-shot lead yesterday in the Funai Classic at Disney in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Lewis putted for birdie on every hole and made 11 of them on the Magnolia course to match his career-low round. The only frustration was a 12-footer that lipped out on his 16th hole and a five-footer that missed badly on the 18th.
"I made most of them, so I'm pretty happy with it," Lewis said with slight resignation.
Scores are always so low at Disney that hardly anyone is satisfied with what they shot.
Vijay Singh got off to a solid start in his bid to win his fourth straight PGA Tour event, which would push him over the $10 million mark this year. He had a bogey-free 66, then retreated to the practice range in balmy sunshine and spent a few hours searching for the slightest imperfections in his swing.
"It was a fighting round today. I managed to get it around," Singh said after his 17th round in the 60s in 21 trips around the Disney courses. He has never shot over par in the six years he has played at Disney.
Two-time Disney champion John Huston, Mark Hensby and Scott Hend each had a 64, while two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal was among those at 65.
Huston never saw this round coming. He was putting so badly just 10 minutes before his tee time that he changed to a cross-handed grip, made a few putts and decided to give it a try.
"I made three or four in a row and I went with it," said Huston, who took only 23 putts in a bogey-free round.
Hensby had such a simple time that he couldn't remember where he made his birdies.
The scores were so low on the Magnolia and Palm courses that 86 players shot in the 60s and only 17 players in the 144-man field were over par. It helped that the sun was out, the breeze was mild and the turf was soft.
Lewis birdied his first four holes to establish his name atop the leader board. He birdied five of the first six holes on his back nine to separate himself from the other early starters, then waited to see if anyone could catch him.
* CHAMPIONS TOUR: Tom Kite shot an 8-under 64, one stroke ahead of Dana Quigley for the first-round lead at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Sonoma, Calif.
Kite and Quigley played outstanding first rounds amid the standing water at Sonoma Golf Course on the first day of the tour's season-ending event. The winner gets $435,000 and the winner of the season-long Schwab Cup competition takes home a $1 million annuity.
Hale Irwin, in third place with a 6-under 66, leads the Schwab Cup standings by 39 points over Craig Stadler, who matched Morris Hatalsky and Jose Maria Canizares in fourth place at 4 under.
While Quigley played bogey-free golf and Kite cruised with two exceptional long putts, Irwin struggled to keep up, making six par saves. Players praised the revamped Sonoma course but bemoaned the standing water still left over from Tuesday's rainstorm.