Irish golfers Darren Clarke and Pádraig Harrington have given themselves every chance of victory, placed second and third respectively, after the opening round of the Target World Challenge at the Sherwood Country Club in California.
The day belonged to reigning US Open champion Michael Campbell however, as he equalled the course record with a nine-under-par 63 to hold a two-shot lead.
“I just went out there and played great,” Campbell said. “Every fairway seemed like twice as wide, the hole as big as a bucket and the greens seemed to be twice as big.
“It’s amazing how you get to a certain mindset out there and just go with the flow.”
Tiger Woods, who hosts this tournament, struggled early in his round before finding his game on the back nine to finish with an even-par 72.
Woods, playing in his last event as a 20-something this week, carded two bogeys on the front nine but rebounded with three consecutive birdies starting on the 11th to get to one-under but dropped another shot coming in.
“I had my opportunities to make some birdies, especially on the 11th for eagle, but I just missed putts,” Woods said. “By the time I built momentum I’d either lose it or I’d build it and I couldn’t make the putt.”
England duo David Howell and Luke Donald are level with Woods but Scot Colin Montgomerie had a poor round and finished the day in last place alongside Davis Love III after a 76.
Collated first round scores in the Target World Challenge, Sherwood CC, Thousand Oaks, California, USA (USA unless stated, par 72):
63 Michael Campbell (Nzl)
65 Darren Clarke (Nirl)
68 Pádraig Harrington (Irl)
69 Kenny Perry
70 Thomas Bjorn (Den)
71 Tim Clark (Rsa), Fred Couples
72 Chris DiMarco, David Howell (Eng), Tiger Woods, Fred Funk, Luke Donald (Eng)
73 David Toms, Jim Furyk
76 Colin Montgomerie (Sco), Davis Love III.