Kite birdies final hole for share of lead

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Tom Kite got off to a fast start in his bid to win a US PGA Tour-sanctioned event in Texas for the first time.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:40 IST
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Tom Kite got off to a fast start in his bid to win a US PGA Tour-sanctioned event in Texas for the first time. He birdied the final hole for a 4-under 68 and a share of the first-round lead in the FedEx Kinko's Classic on Friday. Kite, the Texas resident who is winless in the state in 98 starts on the US PGA Tour and 10 on the Champions Tour, was tied with Jay Haas, Bruce Fleisher, Craig Stadler, Curtis Strange and senior newcomer David Edwards. The six-man tie for the lead is the largest after the round on the Champions Tour since 1999. "To go around the course without a bogey today is really, really good,'' said Kite, the only player in the 78-player field to achieve that feat in windy conditions. "I'm playing really good now and should have a chance to win every week if I continue to play this well.'' He birdied Nos 3, 8, 15 and 18, two-putting from 35 feet on the final hole. Kite hasn't won on the Champions Tour since the 2004 3M Championship. Haas, who won the Legends of Golf last week in Georgia, birdied Nos. 13-15 to take the lead, but slipped back into a tie with a bogey on the par-3 16th.

"I'm driving the ball well and making a lot of birdies, but I'm kind of disappointed by the way I finished,'' Haas said."This is a good carryover from last week and I have to keep it going.'' Share of the lead Fleisher eagled the par-5 eighth, his 17th hole of the day, to gain his share of the lead. He said it was good to post a solid opening score. Edwards, Strange and Stadler also birdied the par-5 18th, one of the statistically easiest holes at the Hills Country Club layout. "I haven't been playing very well, but nobody cares but my wife. It's good to be under par for the start,'' said Strange, who led after the first round of the 2005 Kinko's tournament. Jose Maria Canizares opened with a 69, and Wayne Levi and Des Smyth shot 70s. (AP)

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