Curtis, Lewis share lead at Buick Championship

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Ben Curtis and J.L. Lewis shot 6-under 64s to shared the first-round lead at the Buick Championship on Thursday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:48 IST
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Ben Curtis and J.L. Lewis shot 6-under 64s to shared the first-round lead at the Buick Championship on Thursday. Curtis, the 2003 British Open winner, birdied his 17th hole, and Lewis birdied his 18th to emerge from a group of players bunched at 5 under. Kevin Sutherland, Justin Rose, Franklin Langham, Vaughn Taylor, coming off a win last week at the Reno-Tahoe Open, and Michael Putnam, who is making his US PGA Tour debut, are a stroke back. Former US Open winner Corey Pavin is among a group of four at 4 under. Top-10 finishes Curtis has only two top-10 finishes since he hoisted the claret jug. He made one cut in his first 10 events this year and his confidence suffered. But he began a turnaround last month when he finished third at the Western Open and then contended early at the US PGA Championship with a first-round 67 at Baltusrol for a share of the lead. "I gradually just worked on the swing and started hitting the ball better. That led to making some putts and that's been the key,'' Curtis said. Consecutive birdies Curtis opened with consecutive birdies and played error-free throughout. He grabbed the lead by rolling in a 16-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th. It was Curtis' first appearance at the Buick Championship. He was scheduled to play in 2003 immediately following the British Open, but pulled out, citing fatigue. "It was my rookie year and I pretty much signed up for every tournament,'' Curtis said. "After I won it, it was one of those things where you had to sit back and just think about it. I didn't want to come in here and just shoot 80. Obviously, I felt bad for not coming here.'' Lewis made a 10-footer on his final hole, the 406-yard, par-4 ninth, to catch Curtis. Lewis, whose best finish on Tour has been a couple of second places, also had a bogey-free round. He lamented failing to make good on several birdie chances. (AP)

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