Old names at top of new tournament

Friday, May 9, 2003

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The tournament is new, not the guys leading it.

Fred Couples and Nick Price helped get the Wachovia Championship off to a smashing start Thursday, each posting a 6-under 66 on a Quail Hollow course that left most players wondering if the U.S. Open had moved to May.

"I wouldn't be surprised if in the future there would be either a U.S. Open or a PGA on this golf course, because they can make it as hard as they want to," Price said.

Couples and Price took advantage while they could, getting around with a different style of game that gave them a one-stroke lead over PGA champion Rich Beem.

In his first start since winning the Houston Open to end a five-year drought, Couples played bogey-free at Quail Hollow and holed two long birdie putts to be in the lead for the fourth straight round on tour.

Price birdied four of his last seven holes, saving par with an 8-foot putt on No. 9.

Paul Goydos holed out from 199 yards in the 18th fairway for eagle and joined Jeff Brehaut at 68.

Mike Weir, in his first tournament since winning the Masters, holed an 8-iron from 161 yards in the rough at No. 11 for eagle and wound up at 72.

Benson & Hedges: David Dixon shot a 6-under 66 for a one-stroke lead over Padraig Harrington after the first round of the Benson and Hedges International.

Defending champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina and Henrik Stenson of Sweden, the 2001 winner, had 68s on The Belfry's Brabazon Course, site of the Ryder Cup matches in September.

Asahi Ryokuken International: Rosie Jones and Sophie Gustafson shot a 6-under 66s to share the first-round lead at the Asahi Ryokuken International in North Augusta, S.C.

Pat Hurst was third with a 67, while Laura Diaz, Wendy Ward, Lorena Ochoa and Giulia Sergas at 68.

Nichirei Cup: Annika Sorenstam shot a 6-under 66 in rough conditions in Tokyo and shared the lead after the first round of the Nichirei Cup with Japan's Junko Yasui.

-- From wire reports

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