Winning the British Open didn't protect Ben Curtis from golf's ups and downs.
He has been down for most of the last two years, struggling to make cuts, let alone a run like the one that won him the Claret Jug in 2003.
Yesterday, though, he was up. Curtis shot a bogey-free, 7-under 64 in the first round of the Western Open in Lemont, Ill., finishing one stroke shy of the course record and grabbing a share of the lead with Jim Furyk and Todd Fischer.
"I'm still a long ways away from playing really good golf," Curtis said. "It's coming, but I'd like to put four good rounds together instead of one or two. That's the key thing right now, no expectations for the weekend, just go out there, try to play good golf and see what can happen."
There are plenty of people right behind him. Former Western Open champ Robert Allenby, Chad Campbell, Harrison Frazar and Chris Couch are two strokes back at 66, and John Daly is lurking in a big pack at 2-under 69.
Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh both struggled and have work to do to make the cut. Woods couldn't get the ball close to the pin all afternoon and finished at 2-over 73. Singh shot a 1-over 72.
* LPGA: Annika Sorenstam overcame an early deficit to beat Joanne Morley, 2 and 1, in the first round of the Women's World Match Play Championship in sweltering conditions in Gladstone, N.J.
The Swedish star will face 32nd-seeded Tina Barrett -- a 5-and-3 winner over Young Kim -- in the second round. Second-seeded Cristie Kerr also advanced, beating Lindsey Wright, 2 and 1. Kerr, the Michelob Ultra Open winner early last month, will face Liselotte Neumann on Friday. Neumann beat Moira Dunn, 4 and 3.
Third-seeded Lorena Ochoa dropped out, 2 and 1, to No. 62 Laurie Rinker. Fifth-seeded Natalie Gulbis and the sixth-seeded Birdie Kim also were eliminated.
Fourth-seeded Paula Creamer beat Maria Hjorth, 4 and 3, to set up a second-round match against slumping Australian star Karrie Webb.
* EUROPEAN TOUR: Trevor Immelman of South Africa shot a 6-under 66 to take the lead after the first round of the European Open in Straffan, Ireland, while newly crowned U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell struggled to a 74.
Defending champion Retief Goosen, the runner-up 11 days ago at Pinehurst, shot a 5-under 67, one stroke back.