Wi opens with 66; Woods 3 behind at Bay Hill

Posted March 22, 2012, at 6:30 p.m.
Last modified March 23, 2012, at 12:03 a.m.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Charlie Wi felt a lot better walking off the golf course compared with his last round.

So did Tiger Woods.

Coming off a final round at Innisbrook in which he made a 13 on one hole, Wi hit an 8-iron over the water to 6 feet for birdie on the 18th for a 6-under 66, giving him a share of the lead with Jason Dufner on Thursday in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

It’s the fourth time Dufner has been atop the leaderboard after a round during the Florida swing — except that none of those rounds have been Sunday.

The last time Woods was seen on the PGA Tour, he was being driven away in a golf cart after withdrawing in the middle of the final round at Doral with soreness and swelling in his left Achilles tendon.

Woods, a six-time champion at Bay Hill, shot a 69 without breaking a sweat, much less breaking any body parts. There was nothing particularly special about this round, except for a 30-foot birdie putt that swirled around the cup at the 15th, and a couple of three-putt bogeys that kept his score from being lower.

Phil Mickelson was all over the place, going from a bunker to a magnolia tree on his way to an unlikely par; hitting a tee shot out of bounds for double bogey; hitting into the water for another double bogey; and somehow escaping with a 73.

KIA CLASSIC: Top-ranked Yani Tseng shot a 5-under 67 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead with Ji Young Oh and Caroline Hedwall in the Kia Classic at Carlsbad, Calif.

Tseng finished with a birdie on the par-4 ninth after dropping a stroke on the par-3 eighth.

The 23-year-old Taiwanese star won the LPGA Founders Cup on Sunday in Phoenix for her 14th LPGA Tour title and second in four events this year. She led the tour last season with seven victories — including major victories in the LPGA Championship and Women’s British Open — and finished the year with 12 worldwide titles.

Oh, a two-time LPGA Tour winner who fought a hip injury the last two seasons, also had six birdies and a bogey on La Costa’s Legends Course. Hedwall had seven birdies and two bogeys.

Suzann Pettersen, Jiyai Shin, Brittany Lincicome and Jennifer Johnson were a stroke back

Michelle Wie opened with a 77.

HASSAN II TROPHY: Ireland’s Damien McGrane shot a 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the European Tour’s Hassan II Trophy at Agadir, Morocco.

Spain’s Alejandro Canizares was second at Golf du Palais Royal, the Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed course that sits inside the walls of the Royal Palace of Agadir. Other than the tournament, the course is used only by King Mohammed VI and his guests.

England’s Robert Rock, needing to finish first or second in to make the top 50 in the world and assure a spot in the Masters, had a 77. He had an 11 on the par-4 fourth hole.

John Daly also opened with a 77.

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