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PGA Tour: Anthony Kim remains on impressive run

Anthony Kim, fresh off a Ryder Cup victory, shoots 6-under 64 for a four-stroke lead in the first round of the Tour Championship.

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Anthony Kim, fresh off a Ryder Cup victory, shoots 6-under 64 for a four-stroke lead in the first round of the Tour Championship.

ATLANTA — Anthony Kim wore a red shirt, fired at flags and made birdies on almost half of his holes.

So much for the Ryder Cup hangover. The way Kim played Thursday in the opening round of the Tour Championship, it was almost as if the Ryder Cup never ended.

Four days after Kim humbled Sergio Garcia, he beat 29 players just as badly at East Lake with 6-under 64 to take a four-shot lead over Trevor Immelman, Ryder Cup teammate Phil Mickel­son and Ernie Els.

"It took me a couple of days to get over that celebration," Kim said of a 16½-11½ victory over Europe. "Obviously, it's nice when you walk up to a green and you've got a couple of people (saying), 'Nice job at the Ryder Cup. Way to bring the Cup back home,' little things like that. I feel like when I'm happy, having a good time, I'm going to make some birdies.

"So it was a good vibe out there."

Vijay Singh wasn't feeling it. He only has to complete all four rounds to capture the FedEx Cup, and that might have been the best part of his opening round — he finished. But he started poorly, 5 over through 11 holes, before settling for 73.

Kenny Perry, the Kentucky hero from the Ryder Cup, found little reason to smile. He opened with 76, and though that won't take away from his memories of red, white and blue, what irritated him was a pink slip. It was his summons for drug testing, the second of the year for Perry, 48.

Good thing Kim, 23, had four days to try to get the Ryder Cup out of his system. He was the life of the party Sunday night, especially after a 5-and-4 victory over Garcia in which Kim made birdie or better on six of his 14 holes.

"Just trying to enjoy the moment," he said. "This Ryder Cup hangover doesn't feel as bad as a college hangover."

As well as he played at the Ryder Cup on a Valhalla course with soft greens and minimal rough, Kim was equally spectacular on an East Lake course that was tough as ever.

Golf balls disappeared in Bermuda rough that was only 2 inches deep. The challenge was getting the ball close to the cup on greens that were rebuilt in the spring. It usually takes a few years for new greens to settle, making them firm. Add to that gusts as high as 15 mph on a warm, dry afternoon and it's no wonder only five players broke par.

K.J. Choi was the other, finishing at 1-under 69.

The real marvel was Kim posting eight birdies in his Tour Championship debut. He attributes most of that to a simple fix in his putting before he teed off.

"It was the most basic thing you can think — keep your eye on the ball," Kim said.

The drama is gone from the FedEx Cup — Singh made sure of that with two victories — but perhaps there is one race that could come down to the wire.

Mickelson has a chance to win the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted scoring average, and at 69.52 he leads Garcia (69.53) by one-hundredth of a point. Mickelson at least needs to finish ahead of the Spaniard to capture his first major award on the PGA Tour.

LPGA: Jill McGill, Jane Park and Jeong Jang shot 7-under 65s for a share of the Navistar LPGA Classic lead in Prattville, Ala.

Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa was two strokes back in her first event in a month. Ochoa played her first competitive round since tying for sixth in the Safeway Classic on Aug. 24, her seventh straight winless start.

"I'm in a better place mentally," Ochoa said. "I feel very comfortable. I worked a lot on my game, and it's always good to get back to competition. I'm going to do my best this week and hopefully win the trophy."

USGA Men's Senior Amateur: U.S. Walker Cup captain Buddy Marucci beat George Zahringer 2-up to claim the title in Fort Worth, Texas.

Marucci, 56, from Villanova, Pa., won for the first time in 51 starts in USGA events.

"It's great to get a win after all these years," said Marucci, best known for losing to Tiger Woods in the 1995 U.S. Amateur final. "It means a lot."

USGA Women's Senior Amateur: Diane Lang won the title for the third time in four years, beating Toni Wiesner 6 and 5.

Lang, 53, a Jamaican who lives in Weston, won in 2005 and 2006.

"This is my most special one," she said. "This makes all the hard work worthwhile. I put in a lot of sweat and tears over the last year to get my name on that trophy again."

European: Marcus Fraser and Mikael Lundberg each shot 5-under 67 to share the first-round lead of the British Masters at the Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England. Defending champion Lee Westwood, back after Europe's Ryder Cup loss, was one stroke behind.

PGA Tour: Anthony Kim remains on impressive run 09/25/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 1:24pm]
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