Originally created 02/08/02

Aussie Mathew Goggin leads Buick Invitational



SAN DIEGO -- Australian Mathew Goggin, often confused with Matt Gogel during their rookie season two years ago, shot an 8-under-par 64 Thursday on the North Course at Torrey Pines to take the first-round lead in the Buick Invitational.

It was the best round in 68 PGA Tour tournaments for Goggin, who wouldn't have made the field this week if he hadn't finished in the top 10 last week at Pebble Beach - which was won by Gogel. It's also the first time Goggin has led a PGA Tour event.

On a perfect day with little wind, Goggin had a one-stroke lead over 24-year-old rookie Luke Donald and Jay Williamson.

Tiger Woods, the 1999 Buick winner, shot a bogey-free 6-under 66, but watched several putts lip out to leave him tied with Chris Riley, who grew up in San Diego.

Woods brilliantly saved par on his finishing hole, the par-5, 548-yard No. 9 on the North Course, after hitting his tee shot behind a eucalyptus tree.

Rather than hit back onto the ninth fairway, Woods chipped onto the No. 4 fairway to get a better angle, then hit a 176-yard shot from the second cut of rough onto the No. 9 green, leaving him with about a 35-foot birdie putt. He left it 2 feet short, then tapped in for his 66.

Woods, who first played Torrey Pines as a 6-year-old, started his round on No. 10. He had birdies on four of five holes midway through his round to get to 6-under. He could have added to his lead but lipped out a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-4 No. 7 and then ran a 30-foot birdie putt about a foot past the hole on No. 8.

Woods' tee shots on Nos. 7, 8 and 9 landed progressively farther in the right-side rough.

Not surprisingly, only three of the 24 golfers who shot 4-under 68 or better played their opening rounds on the longer, tougher South Course, which underwent a $3.3 million renovation during the last year.

Mark O'Meara, who's won two majors, had the best score on the South Course, a 5-under 67 that left him tied with six others, three strokes behind Goggin.

Phil Mickelson, the two-time defending champion who's won his hometown tournament three times overall, struggled on the North Course with a 1-over 73.

Those who played the North on Thursday move over to the South on Friday, and vice versa. The weekend rounds are on the South Course, which is playing some 550 yards longer after the renovation. Architect Rees Jones changed every tee box, bunker and green on the South Course.

Goggin opened his round with birdies on three of his first four holes, then finished with three straight birdies. His only bogey came on the par-4 11th, when he hit his tee shot into a trap, then left his next shot in the rough. He chipped to about 5 feet but missed the putt.

Divots: Goggin's previous low round on the PGA Tour was 65, which he shot three times, most recently in the third round of the 2001 FedEx St. Jude Classic. ... Thursday's scoring average for the South Course was 73.782, its highest single-day average since the opening round in 1993, when it was 79.351. ... Others who had bogey-free rounds, all on the North Course, were Williamson, Frost, Jimenez, Stephen Gangluff (67), J.L. Lewis (68) and Jeff Sluman (68). ... Frank Lickliter, who shot an 11-over 83 on the South, was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. Lickliter three-putted the third playoff hole last year for a triple-bogey, losing the tournament to Mickelson.