Originally created 06/02/06

Archer is just off the mark



NEWPORT, Wales - Philip Archer missed shooting the first 59 on the European Tour when a 6-foot birdie putt lipped out on the 18th hole Thursday in the first round at the Wales Open.

The Englishman set up his chance with a wedge shot from 134 yards. But he hit the putt too hard and, although the ball touched the hole, it stayed out.

"It's a little bittersweet. I wanted to give myself a chance at it but I just hit it too hard," Archer said after 9-under-par 60 at the par-69 course.

Robert Karlsson shot 61 and Colin Montgomerie rediscovered his putting touch to break out of a slump with 63 at the 6,743-yard Roman Road Course at Celtic Manor.

It was the 13th 60 in the history of the European Tour.

Adrien Mork of France scored the first 59 on any European Tour event at the Moroccan Open on the developmental Challenge Tour last week.

WIE'S PRACTICE: Michelle Wie has a good chance of becoming the first woman to qualify for the U.S. Open if she can work out the kinks in her swing tempo over the next few days, instructor David Leadbetter said Thursday.

Wie practiced on the range and then played nine holes on Canoe Brook Country Club's North Course in preparation for Monday's 36-hole U.S. Open sectional qualifier in Summitt, N.J.

Wie, 16, needs to finish in the top 18 in the field of 153 players to make the U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

"She just qualified on the practice tee," Leadbetter quipped after working on Wie's swing for more than an hour. "I think she's got a decent shot at it. She is confident. She had a very good outing in Korea a few weeks ago and she is swinging pretty well overall."

Wie refused to speak to reporters either before or after playing.

REX HOSPITAL OPEN: In Raleigh, N.C., Matt Kuchar and Paul Claxton continued their strong play on the Nationwide Tour with 6-under-par 65s in the opening round at the TPC at Wakefield Plantation.

In the previous Nationwide Tour event, which ended May 21, Kuchar won the Henrico County Open in a playoff over Claxton.

This week, Kuchar and Claxton are tied for the lead with Michael Sim and Gary Christian.

Of the area golfers in the field, Scott Parel shot 70, Richard Johnson and Franklin Langham had 71s and Matt Hendrix shot 72.

RIVER RUN CLASSIC: In Davidson, N.C., Dane Burkhart missed the cut in the Tarheel Tour event at River Run Classic, but fellow Aiken golfer David Seawell is in contention.

Burkhart, who won his pro debut last week on this tour, shot 76-73-149 this week at River Run Country Club to miss the cut by five shots.

Seawell, a former PGA Tour golfer, has shot 68-68-136 and is four shots off the lead of John Mallinger (67-65). North Augusta's Kyle Bradley shot 150.