Golf finally felt easy to Jeff Sluman, and it wasn't hard to see why.

From a fairway bunker on the 18th hole, he had to play a 20-yard hook to avoid the trees and reach the elevated green. His 7-iron stopped 16 inches from the cup for his ninth birdie, a course-record 62 and a two-shot lead at the Chrysler Championship yesterday in Palm Harbor, Fla.

"You kind of wonder to yourself why in the world you can't do that more often, because it seems so easy," Sluman said. "Other days, making one or two birdies seems like it's going to be impossible."

The previous record was a 63 by K.J. Choi in the first round in 2002, when he went on to a wire-to-wire victory.

Jonathan Kaye made a hole-in-one with a 3-iron from 222 yards on 17, then followed that with a birdie for a 7-under 64. He was tied with Kirk Triplett and Kent Jones, who is 124th on the money list and took a big step toward keeping his PGA Tour card for next year.

Vijay Singh makes it look easy every day.

The No. 1 player in the world, who only needs to finish in the top 15 at Innisbrook to assure himself a $10 million season, made five birdies in a seven-hole stretch on the back nine for a tidy round of 65.

The Chrysler Championship is the final full-field tournament of the year, the last chance for players to get into the Tour Championship (top 30 on the money list), the Masters (top 40) or keep their jobs (top 125).

* EUROPE: Sergio Garcia shot a 4-under-par 67 in the wind to share the first-round lead at the Volvo Masters with fellow Spaniard Jose Manuel Lara in Sotogrande, Spain.

Lara was stung by a bee on the fifth hole, but regrouped and birdied five of the last 10 holes.

"I putted very well," he said. "The greens are fantastic. If you can read them, the ball goes exactly where you hit it."