Toms takes control in surprising fashion

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- The picture of David Toms in his blue winner's jacket is just a few feet from Tiger Woods' smiling mug near the first tee at Quail Hollow Club.


The sun-drenched gallery at the Wachovia Championship knew Woods wasn't around Thursday to defend his title because of knee surgery. Many fans might have completely forgotten about the slumping 2003 champion -- until Toms broke out of his missed-cut, sore-back funk with 5-under 67 to take the first-round lead.

It was Toms' best round in, well, he couldn't remember.

"Since a long time. I don't know. I can't even think," Toms said. "It makes me feel good about my game. It gives me a little bit of confidence. It wasn't a fluke round."

Playing in the morning when the greens were still soft from the drenching rain earlier in the week, Toms made eight birdies, including a near ace at the 13th hole, to take a one-shot lead over Phil Mickelson and Jason Bohn.

It was a welcome change for the 2001 PGA Championship winner, whose last victory was more than two years ago.

Mickelson, in his first event since the Masters Tournament, hit 12 of 14 fairways and had only 26 putts with his a new putter.

There were three players with Augusta ties in the field.

The best Thursday was Vaughn Taylor of Evans, who was tied for fourth with eight other golfers. He shot 69, including five birdies. Former Augusta State golfer Richard Johnson shot 73 to tie for 72nd. Charles Howell was near the bottom of the field after shooting 75, tying for 123rd. Zach Johnson and Ben Curtis were in a group of nine two shots back, while Vijay Singh and Rory Sabbatini were among 11 three off the lead. No one was able to make a charge late as the course dried out and the greens quickened.

It was another rough day for Masters champ Trevor Immelman. After missing the cut last week at the Byron Nelson Championship, Immelman shot 76 and was buried at the bottom of the leaderboard.


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