Thursday, January 18, 2007

Awesome Aussie Allenby Leads Hope

Say that five times fast. Everything came in slow motion for Robert Allenby Wednesday at LaQuinta Country Club, as the Aussie stormed into the first-round lead with a nine-under par 63.

By Jared Trexler

Maybe the spectators or The Golf Channel weren't aware Robert Allenby wasn't on the verge of history.

He was, however, on the cusp of the first round lead.

Allenby stormed through LaQuinta Country Club, posting a nine-under par 63 to seize a two-stroke advantage after Day One of the five-day birdiefest known as the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

Allenby's round started almost an hour late because of frost, yes frost, that covered all four tournament courses, then had a nervous young scorer confuse his score to the point where Nick Faldo and his TV mates perhaps thought Allenby was coming into David Duval, magic number 59, territory.

"Obviously the Golf Channel thought I was trying to shoot 59 or 60, probably like everyone else. But I knew what was going on."

Did he ever.

He drained two snakes from 25-feet plus on the final two holes to vault into the lead, keeping the momentum from an eighth place showing in Hawaii last week.

Then there was the anticipated season debut of Phil Mickelson, filled with plenty of ebb and flow early but a birdie run starting at the 10th and concluding at the 12th steadied the ship. Mickelson, who also played at LaQuinta Country Club, opened with a two-under par 70.

"I hit a lot of great shots. I hit a lot of poor shots," he said. "It was a good round of 2-under par. After being 3-over through four holes, to come back and shoot under par, I'll gladly take that."

Trex's Tidbits: Fred Couples withdrew citing a sore calf. Good news for Couples' fans -- at least it wasn't the back...Duval opened with a 67. He is using his one-time exemption this season to play on Tour...Allenby's round is more impressive considering the next best round shot at LaQuinta was Andrew Buckle's 67.

Top 5 Leaderboard ML FEDEX
1. Robert Allenby -9 (LQ) 18 18
2. Mark Calcavecchia -7 (CC) NA NA
2. Craig Kanada -7 (BD) 21 T19
4. Charley Hoffman -6 (BD) NA NA
4. Jason Gore -6 (BD) NA NA
Six other players at -6

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The Phanatic

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