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Quail Hollow Championship Gets its Wish for Round 1

Quail Hollow Championship Gets its Wish for Round 1

Tiger leads the tourney at -7 and Mickelson is second (at least tied for 2nd) just two back!

Within the last week the main talk surrounding the tournament was that Tiger had opted to grace us with his presence and play in the Charlotte, NC Golf tournament. Prior to that, the talk was all negative with the issues involving sponsorship.

Wells Fargo inherited the title sponsorship of the event when it acquired Wachovia Corp. last year. Wells first opted to leave the Wachovia name on the tournament for 2009 instead of re-naming it. In February, as political and media scrutiny focused on banks spending millions of dollars on sports sponsorships even as they accepted federal bailout money, Wells decided to strip the Wachovia name from the PGA Tour event.

Other “non-golf” talk surrounded the fact that the economy was affecting ticket sales. “We got closer than most people thought,” says Kym Hougham, tournament executive director. Actually the tournament IS sold out for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday rounds, but as the first day of action began, there were some 2,500 tickets left unsold. Quail Hollow decided NOT to sell tickets during the week, so that meant that the tournament didn’t sell out as it has every year since 2003.

All that negative vibe went right out the window as round 1 got underway. By 11:30am Tiger Woods had played 13 holes and was already 3 under par. By 12:40pm Tiger was in the clubhouse with a 7-under 65, which is one shy of the course record.

Woods was in great spirits even after being grilled with every question possible about whether or not his knee has passed every test this season. He quipped, “”No, I haven’t dunked yet, so I’m looking forward to that.” Then he actually answered the question saying that it was great being able to hit all his shots and practice the way he wanted without worrying whether the knee would hold up or not.

MICKELSON COMPLETES QUAIL HOLLOW’S WISH LIST – Okay, there’s plenty of other names in the field that would make for some great storylines, but suffice to say that tournament organizers (and sponsors) are ecstatic that Phil Mickelson shot a bogey-free first round and is tied for second just two shots back. He shot one of the craziest rounds of golf that showed nothing but pars, birdies and an eagle. But it was HOW he scored that made it interesting. He hit his approach shot on the difficult par-4 18th up against the large scoreboard and got relief because of it. (Lucky him) Prior to THAT errant shot, his first shot was whacked into the fairway bunker. He got his relief (up against the cart path in a small area that allowed little room for error).

Mickelson hit one of his typically spectacular wedge shots to inside 3 feet to set up a par.

That capped a round of 67 for Mickelson. He made just one birdie on the back nine, but that par was incredible and incredibly huge. Though we’re only 18 holes into the event athe talk is already Mickelson and Woods.

CABRERA GETS OFF TO A GOOD START – So much for a post-Masters letdown for Angel Cabrera. Cabrera is 2 under today after rattling off three straight birdies on holes 13, 14 and 15.

Oh yea. Steve Marino, Robert Allenby, Jeff Maggert and several others are “still in it”!

Here’s the Round 1 Leaderboard as of 7pm was:

1 Tiger Woods 65
T2 Steve Marino 67
T2 Phil Mickelson 67
T2 Robert Allenby 67
T5 Jeff Maggert 68
T5 Retief Goosen 68
T5 Hunter Mahan 68
T5 Lucas Glover 68
T5 Jason Dufner -4 17
T10 Bo Van Pelt 69

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