Rain at Honda Classic unable to cool off Faxon's hot putter

Friday, March 8, 2002

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- Brad Faxon has putted well for as long as he can remember. He doesn't know why or how. But if he tries to analyze his skill too much, he will mess it all up.

So he just putts.

Faxon made two 30-footers and four more from beyond 10 feet Thursday. He shot a 7-under 65 and was the clubhouse leader when heavy rain suspended the opening round of the Honda Classic.

"I try to putt like it's shooting baskets with your friends," Faxon said. "I try to make it so easy and simple and thoughtless. ... I putted great. I had good feel around the greens. I saw the lines. But that's when I putt my best: when it's easy.

"I know there's no explanation for that or nothing that will sell a book, but I don't really worry about that."

Faxon birdied four of his final five holes, getting off the TPC at Heron Bay just before play was suspended. Nearly 2 inches of rain had fallen when the first round was postponed Thursday afternoon.

The round will resume toay morning at 7:30 a.m. EST. Second-round tee times were pushed back five hours, a move that guarantees the second round will not finish Friday and will continue Saturday.

Toay's forecast called for partly cloudy skies with a 20 percent chance of rain.

Skip Kendall, having teed off on the par-5 16th when play was stopped, was one shot behind Faxon and one stroke ahead of Fulton Allem, Per-Ulrik Johansson, Dudley Hart and Michael Allen.

Only 33 players in the 144-man field finished the opening round. That could benefit Faxon, especially if he keeps playing like he did Thursday.

"I know I'm going to be there," he said confidently. "I hope my golf swing hangs in there and stands up, and if I putt like I did today, it will be nice."

Dubai Desert Classic

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Defending champion Thomas Bjorn of Denmark shot a 5-under 67 for a share of the first-round lead with Sweden's Robert Karlsson in the Dubai Desert Classic.

South African star Ernie Els, coming off a victory Sunday in the PGA Tour's Genuity Championship,was a stroke back along with Swedes Niclas Fasth and Olle Karlsson, Scotland's Sam Torrance and South Korea's Charlie Wi.

-- From wire services

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